AGE DOESN’T MATTER UNLESS YOU’RE CHEESE.
I’m in favor of the first amendment; free speech and all. But what’s to be done with a word that is both ambiguous and possibly hurtful? I’m thinking of the word old; at least when used to describe humans. At times the word plagues me and other times it puzzles. I mean, first of all, what does it mean? Advanced in years? My-two-year-old granddaughter is more advanced in years than her almost one-year-old brother.
I’m confused about this. At what juncture does a human become old? I hear forty-year-olds talking about being old. They can’t do this and that anymore because they’re so old. I’ve also read about people who, at eighty-nine, are skydiving or graduating from college. So you can see why I’m perplexed. My girlfriend who is my age recently said she feels like we’re young! Her ninety-year-old cousin, who is still practicing law, recently met with her eighty-something-year-old father to assist in the filing of his taxes.
Lest you think I’ve fallen prey to early dementia or I’m in complete denial, I’ll confess that some things do change as the years pass. The fat that assists in keeping wrinkles inconspicuous, for example. The youthful plumpness at one time found on the forehead and bridge of the nose, has now gone way south. Apparently that helpful fat shows up in the waist section where belts were once worn. The dark thick eyebrows have diminished and been replaced by white rowdy wiry hairs of a different variety. Those eyebrow hairs also show up (“Surprise”) in other fun areas. The skin can grow some pretty interesting markings that can thankfully be mostly hidden from view. And yes, there may possibly be a few aches or pains that call attention to themselves.
But, I suggest that most of the changes taking place as we add more candles on the cake are exterior things that have nothing to do with who we truly are.
I may look different on the outside; and our grandchild may wonder one day, while she looks at pictures, “Who’s that girl in the bridal gown with Pop?” But, here’s the thing: I’m still the same person on the inside! In fact, I feel younger and freer and more full of gratitude than I did in my twenties and thirties. I suspect I’m not alone in this feeling.
So here’s an idea: Let’s toss old aside and find an alternate adjective. What about Vintage? Seasoned? Or better yet, Classic? Experienced? Wise?
I’d rather not be categorized as old until I’m ready. And maybe that will never happen.
“The measure of life after all,
is not its duration, but its donation.”
Corrie Ten Boom