Age is just a number. You are not too old or young to try something you want.
Is that so? Does this not sound bacchanal to you?
Because I’m so old, I wanted to take an opportunity to make some observations about the experience of aging.
Aging is more than just attitude and vigor. It is more than a polite gesture, implying age has no boundaries or limits. It’s more than a date on the calendar. And if it’s your locked-screen wallpaper, you are due some perspective.
Not every human breath depends on the matter of age. No sirree. And we need not compete with others, believing that we must graduate at 22, get married at 28 and die at 80. But to oppose this idea, we’ve somehow brought forth the notion of age not mattering. This is an exaggeration, and we need to craft our phrases more intellectually.
Age is more than a number, and aging is more than just an adventurous spirit.
For starters, if age was merely a number, there’s a high probability we’d be walking the earth with a few million adults acting like they’re 10. If that was the case, I’d have to shake a few people to the ground.
Another, and what I think is the most obvious (and critical), is that time speeds up. The older you get, the smaller proportion each year is to the entirety of your life. When you’re 10, a year makes up 10% of your lifetime. That’s a big deal! When you’re 30, it makes up only about 3.3%. And when you’re 50, it makes up about 2%. In a sense, a year at 50 feels five times faster than a year does at age 10.
The acceleration of time perception is unnerving. One, because it never slows down. But two, the older you get, the more you feel like time is “slipping away” from you.
In your 20s, everything is exciting. Everything is new and if you’re a late bloomer like me, experienced for the first time – first dates, parties, first jobs, graduations. You’re gung-ho and want to meet everybody and do everything.
By your 30s, you have to start making a conscious effort to build and maintain friendships. Gone are the days when friendships were so spontaneous, exciting and purposeless.
In your 40s, you’re suddenly willing to put up with less bullshit. Listening to a friend’s concerns and drama is kind of endearing. And pitiful. You still don’t quite know how to say ‘no’ to people, but they also don’t know how to hear no from people without taking it horribly personal.
In your 50s, it’s leisure over excitement. This past weekend, I turned on a Netflix series I had meant to watch for months. Sometime during the first episode of the first season, I fell asleep on the couch. Yep, just another wild and crazy Friday night in my life. But here’s the kicker: I liked it. When you’re young, you equate fun with excitement. But as you age, fun becomes much more about leisure and relaxation.
Here’s the best part: in your 50s, you’re old enough to have experienced much of what you hoped to experience. You earned wrinkles and gray hair. Your wisdom shines, and your smile becomes profound.
Age might hide failure or success, and the dichotomy does not matter if you’re proud of your age. But hiding away age as a blot on your existence is a shameful act that belittles your experiences. And for the record, it scoffs at the coming generation and gives them a wrongful warning that scares them from growing older.
The defiance of age-restricted activities sounds ‘cool’ and gives off the vibe of a rebel. However, the matter suits only the metaphor and none of the reality. Don’t stick to the false pretense that to accept age as something more than a number stands in our way of progress as human beings. It not just counters the argument of age as a ripening of the mind and soul but also digs a deeper grave for the productivity of today’s youth.
Getting old is not a disease but a part of life. Age is not just a number. It is an old album that tells you how far you have come (and how far you still have to go).