Friday, March 27

What's My Age Again?

When you are young, birthdays are the most important day out of the whole year.  You want nothing more than to be older and be like your big sister, brother or cousin.  Once you get to about 13, the main focus is those milestone birthdays – 16: driver’s license, 17: r-rated movies, 18: lottery tickets, 21: legal to drink.  However, once you pass these milestones, you don’t really hear anyone getting super excited about getting older, unless they are really itching to rent a car, which you can’t do until you’re 25.  Everyone wants to savor their 20-somethings, stretching out 29 as many years as it takes to feel comfortable with being in their 30s.  March 22nd is “As young as you feel” day, a day to celebrate the fact that age is just a number, not a deadline or defining quality of a person. 

I think it is really important to ignore age as a measure of maturity or life experience.  Just by looking at a person, you can’t tell how much they have been through or what their background is.  Where, how, and when a person was raised can really affect the way they react to the things around them.  Some people are raised in an environment where there is not a prominent parent figure, so they are forced to grow up quickly by learning things on their own that a parent may have otherwise taught them.  Others have parents who shelter them from every possible “bad” thing, the ones who can’t sit in the front seat until they are 18 and aren’t allowed to play video games or watch any television shows or movies rated above “general audience”. 

Many things can affect how old you feel, including experiences with relationships, social situations, and even traveling.  After I traveled to Greece and seeing how another culture lives from day to day, it put a whole new perspective on things in my life.  I saw how another culture goes about their day and handle the little things that people don’t hear about on the news.  For instance, most of the showers I used oversees did not have curtains, just a fun fact I discovered the hard way. 

The point is that it doesn’t matter what experience you have or haven’t had.  You should feel as young or old as you want at any time.  If you feel like acting like a five-year-old and running around Wal-Mart with a cart full of toys, that’s ok.  You can even feel like cracking open an organic chemistry book once you get home from Wal-Mart and act like you are a studious 25-year-old graduate student.  Either way, you don’t need to always act your age.  If you are 85 and feel like training for a marathon, you are allowed to do that.  Your mind is much more powerful than your body because it is the thing that tells the body what to do.  Your mind is in charge of your outlook on life and your feelings about everything you encounter.  Your body is just the thing that allows you to be able to experience all of the things your mind dreams of.  So act how you feel, not just on a designated holiday for it, every day.

“You don’t have a soul.  You are a soul.  You have a body.”

-C.S. Lewis

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