How do you write a post about age without giving away your age? Let this post be an example. Of success or failure. (I have a feeling, it will fail — and give away my age. Not that I am trying to hide it; but you will know soon, after you finish reading it.)
Age is a number, age is an attitude, age is such and such. We have read enough about age. The good, the bad, the ugly; some we have happily ignored, some we took to heart. For me, age is all about what the person in front of you sees. Irrespective of your age on the calendar – we live multiple “ages” in a day or a week. We all are literally all ages. At the same time. It is all about participation.
To be clear – I am not calling out anybody – whatever your age may be. As long as you are happy participating the way you are – all is well; e.g. 40s being 30s; 50s being 20s, 30s being 50s – whatever works for you, as long as you are happy. All our circumstances, all our choices are the reason where we are. Some circumstances were imposed, some choices weren’t even choices. And we are where we are. This combination of circumstance and choice: some we grudgingly accepted, some we ignored, some we resisted, some were thrusted, some we surrendered. We don’t always win. But win or lose – we’ve dragged the residue, all our life.
And in this surrender and resistance, we’ve found a life. An ageless life.
So, while the calendar can give us a number, our age is a summation of our experience with circumstance and choice. What will never be clear is the number that our age sums up to. Oh, he is just like he was when he was sixteen or She is proper fifty is just our way of responding to our circumstances and choices.
But circumstances and choices are personal; they are unique. And a calendar age as benchmark of behaviour is an incorrect benchmark. You get to a common calendar age, when you don’t have 3AM friends, of the same calendar age, and you get to an age where those who are awake at 3AM aren’t interested in being your 3AM friends. Sweet sixteen doesn’t always mean sweet sixty. In any case it is not about 3AM – it is about 3PM, 6PM, 10AM, or whatever AM or PM you choose. Availability matters.
Age does not matter. The closest combination of circumstance, choice, and context matters. Being in school for two or ten years doesn’t matter, meeting someone for the first time does not matter, working together for ten years does not matter. Just one evening of respect matters. Just one evening of love matters. Just one evening of conversation matters.
We may look at the calendar and call ourselves and others young or old; but our true age will always be a factor of our response to circumstance and choice. And that’s how “old” we will always be.