Thursday, March 10, 2011

Ageless in an Ageing World

When you're young, it's usually embarrassing to be referred to and treated as a baby.  When you're old, it's a compliment to be mistaken as younger.  What is it about not being the same as what your actual age is?
    I’ve just realized something that made me further realize how much I feel is “wrong” or imbalanced or a source of uneasiness for me as regards our current world and lives: there is a sense of agelessness in people even if we feel that the world itself is ageing.  Some of the indicators of this are:
     1.  In the field of health and science, people in their 50’s can actually still look, at most, 30-ish because of the new technologies in anti-aging or vice versa: younger people, because of body and facial enhancements, can look older than they are.  But the lack of cure for cancer means that it doesn’t consider whether one is at the dawn or dusk of their life to strike.
     2.  Fashion statements do not segment age groups.  Older and younger people can dress in similar manners.  In the same way, problems like drugs, rape, infidelity are also “on trend” regardless of age.
    3. There are shared technological tools and toys across generations such as mp3 players, computers, the availability of internet.  As such, people’s desire or even need for technology do not necessarily reflect a progression from simple to more sophisticated ones as we grow older – the younger generation maybe as capricious as older people and those higher-aged maybe as superficial as the teens and the tweens.
     To some degree, this bothers me because we may be missing a real essence of life, of living: to grow and progress in an ageing kind of way and not just from one linear phase to another.  Because, true, developments in science, technology, fashion and others change and we can change with them but as how things are moving now, it may just be from one way to another rather than from one period to another.
     Of course, the other side to this that is good is that we see accomplishments from younger people in such a manner that age is not necessarily a factor in being great.  In fact, there seems to be a feeling that the younger in age one achieves something, the more amazing it is and this is true, I would believe.  But I do hope that this does not undermine also what older people can do, even if it’s something as “simple” as learning new skills like playing the guitar or shifting careers because of an acknowledgment of what can really be making them happy, given their own limitations as well.
     Our physical world is old – experts tell us this as evidenced by climate change, endangered species and history.  And for people, oldness seems to be something that we are avoiding or simulating - depends on where you're coming from.  This can blur the meaning and value of growing up/growing old, learning, and living up to where we really are at certain points in our lives – for if I were forty-five and could still wear a gown for a twenty-two year-old or I were sixteen and could have an Ipad similar to that of someone who’s thirty-one, what value can I find in waiting to grow up or staying put in being young, allowing time to age me in a way only it can do or giving time a chance to make me feel as carefree and lighthearted in my youthful or childhood days? 
        Letting time take its toll or letting time tell is still a gift I value.  And if it means growing old or staying young if I still really am young and not being ageless, then so be it.  After all, some things are inevitable, even if they are deniable…and lessons from ageing, which in itself can be deniable but is unavoidable, are that because they come again and again until we actually learn from them.