What’s in it?
It is just a number in some respects. Obviously it’s more than simply a number by context. Age is, or at least often can be, indicative of a number of things. When it comes down to the bottom of it though, age is just like anything else I suppose. It is what–and perhaps solely–what one makes of it.
I have found that we have this cultural expectation that is generally subscribed to, in which it is deemed inappropriate to inquire about the number of years that makes up one’s life. Who hasn’t heard the embarrassment of a parent as they scold their curious child, “Suzy, it’s not polite to ask someone their age!” …while they secretly hope the person will respond to the child’s inquisition to satisfy their own stifled curiosity?
I’ve been thinking about this. This strange aversion to revealing age. In consideration, I have concluded that this cultural practice of age avoidance is nonsense. Each of us has precisely the number of years that each of us has. No more. No less. Apart from each passing second– the usual passage of time–our age cannot be made more or less.
I think we may often pretend or wish that we are something we are not. That is human enough, and so we do this with age as well. When we are young, we are never old enough. When we are old, we long for youth gone by. I think perhaps, anyone who does not wish to share their life duration, or abides under the ‘don’t-ask-don’t-reveal’ methodology, is either hiding something, untrustworthy, or rattled with insecurity. This is not a scathing judgment of people’s faults (apart from the untrustworthy option). No, it is observation. It is recognition of that which I see in myself. I do genuinely enjoy having curious people guess my age before I tell them. I am often suspected of being 2-5 years younger than I actually am, and that usually thrills me!
Why are we not good enough as we are though? With our age and all? I think about this for myself, about age, about the passing of time. Sure. I’ll come clean. I carry thirty-one years of breathing and living under my belt, and all over and through the rest of my body, mind, and soul. I could, and sometimes do complain a hundred complaints about aging. How everything is harder. How there is too much responsibility. How my body aches sooner and heals later. Remember when we were kids? We just couldn’t grow up fast enough. We couldn’t wait to be able to drive cars, smoke things, and drink liquor.
“Sweet freedom!” we said…”I can almost taste it!”
Well, twenty years later and ‘sweet freedom’ is often as bitter as wormwood. Now we want freedom from our freedoms (aka responsibilities). But good things come with age as well. I suppose. … I have to convince myself of this fairly often. But I know its true. The more age someone has, I think the more I listen and pay attention–because with every passing year of life, no matter how one spends it–comes added and gained experience and understanding. Comes life lessons and things to be learned. In essence, age is beautiful. Youth is beautiful. Life is beautiful.
Do you know what I think? I’m thirty-one and it suits me just perfectly. I don’t mean to say I always love it. But I don’t think I could be a better age right now in life. I’m often wrong about things, but with this thing, I think I am quite right about. And do you know what else I think? I think that is absolutely true for you as well. You and everyone else too. You are the perfect age for you — even with all of the present circumstances that you might not be all too fond of. Trust me, I understand that.
No, you are lovely. Exceedingly! The number of years that comprises your life are perfect for you, and they look so good on you! I’ve never seen someone so stunning in years. And at the same time, since I believe this about everyone, I have only seen someone so stunning in years. You are delightful at this age, at every age before, and every age to come. What a shiny gem you are! You are cool jade and burning sapphire swirled together into calm fire. You tickle my senses with your years.
I won’t say anything if you don’t want to reveal your age. Well….I might. I am a bit more forward these days. But truly it is fine if you don’t. Your age is your gift to do with as you please. I like when people share their numerical measure of biology with me. The passing of gifts, just like the passing of time, is a beautiful practice.
It is up to each of us how we age. Sometimes we hear people say, or may even say ourselves, “You age so well.” or “You haven’t aged one bit.” or “She/He is aging quickly.” What silly things to say! I know, I know. I’m too literal, and semantics, and blah blah blah. But this is me. One of the things that comes with my own years: I love to think about the things we people say, and what we really mean. If there is legitimacy, or if we say things because we’ve always said them, or because maybe it helps us avoid reality.
I think my favorite age comment is along these lines, “Well, they are really showing their age.” Hah! How delightful! As if we all keep our age under wraps, but that person is completely naked, flaunting their age all over without reservation. I hope for you and me, that we always show our age well, with health and spunk, unabated, and free.
My conclusion is simple:
All people of all ages, love all people of all ages.
FOOD FOR THOUGHT:
Think about this. If you look up the verb form of ‘age’ in a thesaurus, here are some words you will find:
Develop, Deteriorate, Grow, Decline, Mature, Mellow, Ripen, Wane
Does anything seem odd to you, as if there are listed some very stark opposites in that list? Almost as if age is entirely about perception?
Age is what you make of it. That’s what I think.
Loveland, CO ¦¦ September 8, 2018
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