In 1513, a young Spanish adventurer inspired worldwidefascination with his quest for a certain mythical fountain. Exactly 500 yearslater, our desire for health, happiness and perpetual youth remainssurprisingly the same.
While explorers no longer seek actual fountains of life,many people do spend their lives chasing similar mythical promises – just checkout the latest health and beauty magazines. So what is it about this idea of eternalyouth that still affects us so deeply?
The phrase “Fountain of Youth” first entered modernvocabulary with Ponce de Leon’s search of the Caribbean for an actual fountain,which he believed would extend youth permanently. However, the concept of “healingwaters” dates way back: to the ancient Middle East and rumors of healingsprings; to Alexander the Great, who sought a magical river of youth; and evento Biblical stories of Jesus healing people with water.
The Fountain of Youth remains fascinating for us todaypartly because of its rich symbolism. Water is indeed a life-giving force wedepend on for survival. Water is an element as old as the Garden of Eden, andfor some people it can still seem to have mystical healing properties. Forexample, people who claim that ocean water cures them of minor ailments or thatDead Sea salt can erase their wrinkles.
Even beyond the philosophical concept of water, people are constantlyseeking alternative “Fountains of Youth.” Drug and nutritional companies arequick to label products with youth-restoring descriptions, and diet andexercise programs make seemingly miraculous claims towards “shedding years” offof someone’s appearance.
But in the end, many realize that the stress and anxiety oftrying to turn back the clock does more damage to their wellbeing thannaturally aging would. People lose the best parts of their lives searching forwhat lies right in front of them – the chance to enjoy the day at hand, withoutfearing the future and trying to hold on to the past.
About the Author: Mike McCormick is a subway-surfing writer from New York City with a passion for history, literature, and philosophy. When he isn’t writing for the web, you can find him typing novels into his smart phone during rush hour.