"How old are you?" is an overused inquiry and is often asked instead of getting to the point with the real questions: "What are you interested in?" "What are you good at?" "What number husband are you on?" Shy and hasty, we ask for a magic number, categorize accordingly, and are off on our merry way.
The recipient of this age question, however, is left feeling sized up and over-aware of their proximity to some finite point in the future when they'll no longer be around to be subject to this kind of asinine questioning.
I am convinced that I would forget my age if I wasn't asked about it on a regular basis. I even stutter sometimes, actually having to think about it. I do my math (carry over the two, drop the zero), and by the time I'm at the end of the equation, it's been so long that most probably think I'm just making it up anyway.
I recently read an article called The Elements of Living Lightly: Zen Habits. This article challenged me to let go of judgment and expectations, and I believe that mastering these two areas can change your life and help you in letting go of age.
Age is a number.
Age has never broken you up with your boyfriend, stolen money from you, or kicked you out on the street. Age has never made any detrimental decision for you, and neither has it brought you wild success. Let's all wave our hands and sing it together: "Age ain't nothin' but a number…"
We've all known that someone who we say is "wise beyond their years," and we know those "late bloomers" on the other end. I’ve personally had an elderly woman show me her fresh ink and a guy no more than three years my senior look me in the eye and call me a youngin'. We all express ourselves according to who we are; not the number on our driver's license.
When we expect certain traits from people of certain ages, our judgement and stigmas keep us from meeting new people, making new friends, and expanding our own experience.
What better way to meet another friend, business partner, even 'soulmate', by simply ending up in the same place at the same time as them? A man I met recently while traveling told me it's best to meet people where they are in life. We are all on our own journeys, following our own paths.
When you meet someone new, take time to step aside from your life and to learn about their journey, even if only for a moment. Perhaps your interests will fall in line, and just crossing someone else's path is interesting, fun, adds variety, and provokes thoughts into our lives. None of that has to do with age; that's just sharing our experiences and sharing a moment.
Let's grow together.
In life, we learn, we experience, and then we share these happenstances with those around us. I have plenty of friends who are older than me, and we do this for each other. Some of my friends are even old enough to be my parents. A dear friend of mine always cracks when people ask if she's my mother: "The polite question would be, 'Are you two related?'"
Generally, my older friends help me gain some wisdom and face reality. In this non-confrontational, technological age, they've taught me and reminded me of values of communication. Their amazing and easy advice leaves me wondering why I didn't think of it in the first place: Well, it's because I simply don't have as much life experience as them yet.
The older you get, the better the vantage point. ~Courtney Klop
There is a wonderful harmony of skills and interests between all ages. Really, it's a beautiful balance. Everyday I run into people who keep me trying new things, learning, laughing, growing. That is why I can't help but chuckle whenever I hear someone say they feel old in any context. You are as old or young as you allow yourself to be!
Whatever your age, let your wonderful qualities show and recognize them in others. The number on one's birth certificate doesn't matter when it comes to trust and respect.
Seek out good-hearted, inspiring people, and remember you get what you give. Grow rich in friendship with an open mind, and by doing this, you'll truly let go of age.