Thursday, August 03, 2006

Age is just a . . .

You know, I am going to talk about a phrase that bugs me, and I am a little hesitant, because (1) this seems like such an insignificant thing to blog about, and (2) I have read a couple of comments on my blog with the same phrase. I really can't remember who said it, but it was someone I like.

Anyway, I have heard a lot of people say, "Age is just a number."

Imagine if you will, some 18-year-old dancing at a club, Rum-and-Coke in her hand, having a good time. Policeman comes up to her and asks for her ID. When he notices that she is not old enough to legally drink in the club, she flippantly remarks, "Age is just a number."

Or how about learning that your brother, age 33, is nailing one of his eighth grade students. When he confers with his lawyer – the lawyer he had to get because he is charged with statutory rape, he says, "Age is just a number."

Or how about the cute 6-year-old girl who wants to go to the Madonna concert – in a different city, late at night. When you say that she cannot go because she is too young, she says, "Age is just a number."

This is one of those phrases that sounds good but I can see several examples where age falls short. Okay, admittedly, the shortcomings occur in extreme examples, and people are too young, not too old. This is the light, easy to destroy, part of the argument. Now for my real thoughts.

We are only on this earth for such a short time. And from what I know, we are all going to die. Age tends to be positively correlated to death – the older you become, the more likely you are to die. Age seems to matter.

We should be cherishing each day of our lives, but the older we get, the faster life seems to become. We are careening into old age.

I remember the lazy summers when I was in middle and high school. The summer seemed to last forever. Well, the last week of summer flew by, but other than that, things crawled. You know, you got up late, had a nice breakfast, showered and whatever, laid out at the pool from late morning to late afternoon (perhaps having lunch near the pool), went home and showered, looking to see how your tan is coming in the shower, got ready for your parents to come home, talked on the phone, whatever. And it lasted forever.

Age should be a reminder. Not necessarily that we need to update our wills (not a bad idea, especially if you have children) – but age should be a reminder that the clock is ticking. We need to be doing what is important to us – whether that be ensuring that we have good relationships with our family, or that we want to work our minds and our bodies, that we want to spiritually grow. Personal values. Perhaps just discerning what is important in your heart is enough right now. The world is so loud and confusing – sometimes it drowns out the voices we have in our heads.

Age is a number, yes, but it is not only a number.

I started saying, "My checking account balance is just a number." You know, that doesn't sound as profound, and, well, if you take the saying to heart, you tend to bounce a lot of checks.

I have a young heart, young eyes. But I can't deceive myself. I will die, whether I think about it or not, and I have a lot I need to do while on this Earth. I need to be a good steward of my time.


Edtime Stories said...

Wonderful point. Age is a number but it is tied to something real. It is attitude, development, and maturity we should strive for a better understanding of.

You are as old as you feel but your chronological age does incur responsiblity.

Smile a little knowing that as we age we actually understand the world better.

mal said...

Great point *S*

it was a major epiphany when I woke one morning and realized I was on "bonus time", that is time that I should have never lived if nature ran its course. To know that every day is a freebie is liberating and empowering.

Age is NOT just a number. It is rough measure of the sum of our experience, no small thing I believe

Prata said...

Age is not a measure of the sum of our experience. Tell that to people who are younger than all of us here in other countries marrying and having children. Age is simply a number, it is a number that defines how long you've been in existence and does not at all have a measure (save in close social circles) of your experience on earth.

It is also a fallacy to say that age defines anything of a person, aside from their length of stay on the planet of course. Age is simply a number demarcating your time on earth. Attitude, maturity, and other factors are developed via your experiences within what is the norm for self in whatever environment you happen to be in.

And Leesa, just my personal opinion. There are 11 year old brides, whom bear children in certain countries. I believe it is a mistake to apply US based values or even US christian values to a broad concept as this. The drinking age _is_ 18 in several countries. The reason I bring up up US christian values is because christian values are different within different societal environments as well. All values are flexible with regards to values in society (which is really what you're applying, not a humanist value), because each society defines their values different.

Prata said...

Oh..first to correct a mistake of mine....that last word should be "differently".

Also, we all die, regardless of age. Death has no scrutiny on the number of years you have been here. That is why the death of a child is not any more horrid to me than the death of a 90 year old. We all die, this is something all accept (and if they don't...they should because it is one of the _two_ and there are only two of them..things you must do while here).

dasi said...

Well said. I agree with you, the number which is your age should be a reminder of how lucky we are. Every day is a gift, and the older you are, the more "gifts" you have received. (Wow, that sounds corny.) But in any case, I think we should embrace the number,yet still remain young at heart as you said.

Leigh said...

I use that phrase all of the time. I never gave it much thought before. Very good points.

Have a good day Leesa.

Grant said...

A similar saying I hate is "Live every day as if it was your last." If it was my last day, I wouldn't do anything but have fun and do all the things for which I don't want to face a reprisal - rape, murder, eat all the ice cream I want, etc. Besides, if you took that advice literally, wouldn't you want to run around scream "Aaaahh! I'm gonna feckin' die!"

Prata said...

Grant: Oh you mean we should only be doing that like..umm...on the last day of our life? Hell..I've got it all backward. Damn...Sad face.

kathi said...

So much better than mine, and something I needed to read. Good stuff. May just be a number to some, but it's a number of importance to me...kind of like a loan amount or a credit rating...

JD said...

my best friend died at age 26 of cancer. the boyfriend of a good friend died at age 17 running track. the woman on the operating table before me when i had my heart attack at the young age of 42 was only 25. so at what point are we old enough to die?

i love this post, it's well-written, like all your posts. but the main point is that we really should live each and every day like it's our last one. i think age is just a number most of the time, don't let the number limit what you can do.

thanks for making me use my gray matter on a day when i'm usually just surfing half-nekkid pics. i love your blog because of that.

Prata said...

At what point are we old enough to die? The moment we begin living. That's a matter of fact, not speculation. Those who live invariably die, 30 seconds old to 100 years.

Leesa said...

ed: sadly, some of us don't understand better over time. I strive for that, but it does not mean I achieve it.

mal: some of us have more experiences than others.

prata: I did not say that there should be a certain age in which to have sex, drink, or whatever. But there are ages where it is legal in the US. All cultures seem to have ages where you can or cannot do something. Whether it is the coming of age, or whatever. The numbers are less relavent than agreeing that most societies do define age-appropriate behavior.

dasi: thanks!

leigh: I was not trying to offend, just thinking about the phrase.

grant: good points. I never liked that phrase either.

kathi: no better than yours nor worse than yours, just different than yours.

jd: I have heard stories about children who have died and helped their parents through the process. That is grace.

prata: I thought you were going to start singing, "Circle of Life."

Tony said...

I'd have to agree with prata simply because that's the way it is. I'm 42. I've heard people say, "man, you're too old to be playing X-box" and I've heard people say "You're too young to worry about retirement". I think too often people confuse it with maturity or experience. Others confuse it with how much closer we are to dying, as if everyone is going to live to fulfill the current life expectancy.

There are times when I think God gives us this second perspective to remind us of our own mortality. For Christians, this life time is extremely short, be it 30 seconds or 100 years, when compared to eternity. From an eternal perspective, age IS just a number.

Loved the post. Thanks.

~Deb said...

When you admit to your age, and someone says, "Well age's but a number!" What they really mean is, wow you're really old! jk!

I think it's important to remember that when we get into our seasoned years, to not ACT old, to live life to the fullest and take our bodies to the capacity of which we limit ourselves. I think that's the point being made when someone makes that statement or comment. I know I say that a lot... and I feel it's true. But there are exceptions to which it should be used---definitely.

Witness said...

Nicely said.
I've been having some similar thoughts myself.

JD said...

i think the point to living each day as if it's your last is to do everything to the fullest. it may be the last thing you do, so if it's updating your will, do it right, if it's playing with your kids, have fun and enjoy it, you may never get to do it again. too many times i've heard people who regretted having put off doing things and not getting to them. my MIL died last year of cancer, a year after retiring. she had worked all her life and never really got to enjoy the vacations and cruises she had saved for during retirement. i think that's the true message of living every last day like it's your last.

Leesa said...

tony: I think we all should plan for retirement.

~deb: Did I just here you start with, "When you admit to your age." What the heck is wrong with you, girl. Never admit to your age.

witness: thanks!

jd: not sure we should live every day to its fullest.

JD said...

i don't think you're saying that we should then "waste" some days in case we might get too much out of life. i'm not saying go skydiving every day just in case it's your last day. i'm saying, enjoy each day, make the most of it. and if that means staying in bed all day because you feel like it, that's cool too. but don't waste an opportunity to do something you want to do, and certainly don't waste time worrying about when we'll die, because eventually we will.

Prata said...

And I'm not arguing that you _were_ saying that. What I was arguing..if you can call it age is nothing more than a number...which if you say the numbers are less important than the fact that societies do have age specific agree that age is nothing more than a number...correct? One could just as easily take a test at any age and decide when it's legal for a person to do a particular thing. Given there was an infrastructure to accurately do so.

And Circle of Life??? lol heheeheh

Ciiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiircle of liiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiife....I hate english spoken music lol

Ian Lidster said...

The problem, Leesa, lies in the fact that we never really feel any older. I am not yet hindered by age, although I tend to nod out after 9 pm while watching CSI. Maybe it's not me. Maybe it's CSI. But, I think attitude plays a huge role in this, and this is where age is very much just a number. My first wife seems old to me when I run into her, and her attitudes are much older than mine are. My current wfe is 13 years younger than I am, and she never really considers me to be older than she is. And, most of our friends are around her age or younger. Consequently, my attitudes remain quite dynamic still, and I hope they'll continue in that direction. Leesa, let me say that I am crazy about your blog. You know what blogging is all about, and write accordngly. Consequently, you have one of the best of the genre. Thank you.


Jason said...

To the 33 year old nailing the 8th grade girl, a simple response is 20 years (in prison) is just a number too.

Shannon said...

When we stop "Living" we had many meanings, other then the time we spend on the earth.

Just enjoy life for what it is..

And how true is the age thing? =)

Shannon said...

has* many meanings...sorry I am typing in the dark lol

Stacy The Peanut Queen said...

"We need to be doing what is important to us"

Truly words to live by...because you never know when your time is up. You know what they say..."Live each day as though it was your last, because someday, it will be!"

Great post, Leesa! :)

Leesa said...

jd: sometimes making the most of a day is wasting it. Yeah, you got my idea without me really explaining it very well.

prata: I agree with you. Age and compentancy are related but not exact. We sort of think kids at 16 (15, 14 in some areas) are responsible enough to drive 2,000 pounds of metal. But that is a bunch of politicians and judges just making a guess. And really, how smart are those guys?

ian: thanks for the compliment. FYI - I have started feeling a little older. I used to be able to practically run up 10 flights of stairs; now at 6 I start thinking about why I did not use the elevator.

jason: touche'!

shannon: good point. I knew someone who was waiting for death once; sad in her case.

stacy: thanks! hope you got all your work done. I hate it when work gets in between me and blogging.

nosthegametoo said...

I share your opinion on that phrase, and several others.

Prata said...

Concerning your comment (the last one?) on my blog Leesa. I responded to it. I will restate my response with regards to attribution here.

"Oh this was in no way attributed to you. I think context resolves that issue, but if it was not clear for you I mentioned exactly who mentioned experience and age, which was Mal. Not you Leesa. ^_^ "