Recently, I have found myself thinking a lot about age. I never used to be concerned with age. Why bother? I was always the youngest person in school and at work. But as I grow older, every day is a reminder of how quickly time is passing, as I watch my younger friends join the work force and move through the ranks of the career ladder.
As I age, the question I always ask myself is whether I meet my own expectations. Am I an improved version of myself at age X compared to previously? Have I accomplished the list of tasks that I had planned for myself? Did I learn from any of my mistakes? You may have heard the saying that age is just a number. I believe that is just an antidote to assuage the feelings of an older demographic. It is focused on the physical aspects of getting older. Aging is an inevitable physical deterioration of the human body. But each passing year provides an additional layer of knowledge and life experience. It is a positive aspect of aging. Aging is a gradual process of being a better, more mature and accomplished person than you were yesterday. It is gradually meeting your own expectations. Aging is about learning from the mistakes of yesterday so that you can go on to help others. When I look back on my days as a twenty-something-year-old, I wish I could erase the poor decisions I made and the narrow lens through which I viewed my world. But if it weren’t for those hiccups, I would not have learned. I would have lost many friends in my network. I would have also given up on life. Age has actually helped me gain the confidence I need to guide my younger counterparts through the trials and tribulations of adulthood.
Whoever coined the phrase that age is just a number was probably not a fan of aging and losing the physical prowess of our youth. This is why the cosmetics industry tries to push every 30-year-old to look like her 20-year-old self. Recognizing aging as mostly a physical phenomenon is superficial and is at the root of age discrimination at the workplace. When we erase physical distinctions between two age groups, age is just a number. However, it does not change the positive aspects of being an older, well-read and experienced person. Somebody many people could turn to for ideas and advice on many of life’s greatest challenges. Would you rather be this person or a youthful looking 30-year-old with the life experience and knowledge of somebody much younger?