With my 28th birthday around the corner, I’ve been reflecting a lot on my age and the concept of aging in general. I think it’s important to remember how young we are. I mean “we,” not just including my own generation, but really anyone under the age of 75 (this is a somewhat arbitrary number but I have decided this is the point at which I will allow myself to use the term “old age”). I’ll never be this young again, as I am right now. This is the skin, these are the eyes and the joints that I’ll wish I could have again when I’m reminiscing some time in the future. I must not take for granted the youth I have left in me and be thankful for each moment of Age as it passes. So often I hear my peers say “I’m so old” and it seems sad, like they’ve already given up. If you think you’re old now, what will you be tomorrow and the many years you have left to live ahead?
In contrast to remembering how young we are, it’s also important not to fool ourselves. We don’t have to fit a prescribed category just because we’re a certain age, and we shouldn’t pretend we’re something we’re not. The prevalence of bleached hair, plastic surgery, and misplaced fashion that Jedd has seen on older women during his recent trip through Southern California brings this point to light. Aging is a scary thing because it reminds us of the reality that our bodies don’t last forever. But instead of embracing and coming to terms with this truth, we spend a heck of a lot of time, money, and effort trying to hide it. Unfortunately, we live in a culture where the value of Age has been forgotten, but there are other cultures in our world where elders are revered for their wisdom and are given a place of honor in society. I bet people in those cultures aren’t quite as scared to grow old.
I think sometimes I have a skewed view of my age because though I graduated from college over five years ago, I never left the college campus and I work with 20-year-olds every day. It wasn’t until last year when all the students’ birthdays were in the 90’s that I realized I really was a generation apart. Compared to my peers who may have spent the last five years in a corporate office or raising a family, I feel I must consider myself to be younger than they do. This is not necessarily a bad thing. However, it can create a gap between myself and people my own “age.”
I like to conjecture what my year ahead will be like. Somehow I knew that my 25th year would be really good, and I ended up getting married that year! Looking at my journal entries from one year ago, I thought year 27 would be a challenge and growth year, and now I can say that this prediction was pretty accurate as well. I had to face up to some things in myself that were ugly and shameful and throughout the year I had to be vulnerable and work through challenges at work, with some friends, even strangers, and my family. I even went through a time this year where I was really being humbled about what I want to achieve in this world. All in all, I’d say I learned a lot this year. I think I grew up a bit, too. Another thing I talked about on my last birthday was my life’s “trajectory” and whether it would veer toward normalcy/mediocrity (one of my biggest fears). It’s nice to know that one year later, Jedd and I have taken some gutsy steps to do something out of the ordinary with our life. But we can’t talk much about that here… So to conclude, I think that this year will be a memorable year, with a lot going on that will keep us on our toes!