Our culture is obsessed with age, and I’m beyond sick of it.
I’m irrationally angry with people who judge others by the numbers on their birth certificate. With people who hide their age or lie about their age. I’m disgusted by the marketing and demographics research that is pivoting on what we should want based on age, and how to play to our age-related insecurities to get our money.
I want to harm, just a bit, those who say things like “The big three-oh” or “over the hill.”
Age is a mythology. Numbers are misleading and indicative of very little. Why? Because the amount and quality of living poured into each day, each month, and each year is wildly different for each person.
A man whose parents die in his teen years is substantially older once he gets to college than most boys who’ve been out of college for years.
A girl who was abused by a loved one is both wise and scared beyond her years.
A man who looks up as his life proceeds, making decisions about what he wants and how he wants to be is older and wiser than a man who puts his head down and does what he’s expected to.
A woman who falls into requirements set by someone or something outside herself is infinitely younger than women who make difficult choices.
Twenty with the decks stacked against you? Forty and never had to do a thing for yourself? Sixty and following your dreams? Thirty and stymied by all the options? Eighty and fighting hard? Fifty and scared? In each of those combinations, the number mattered very little. What I see is decks stacked, inexperienced, passionate, confused, engaged, and scared. Who cares how old: those are very, very different people with different lives and basic human needs, none of which care about birthday candles.
Everyone has different experiences: joys, sorrows, expectations, hopes, deaths, surprises, disappointments. There is a delicate balance of what happens to you and what you choose and I’m not here to argue that everyone has the same chances or that people need to do things differently than they are doing right now.
What I’m saying? Is that none of it is about age. It’s about the life that fills your years that colors who you are.