Monday, June 29, 2009

Ancient Children

Age is such a strange thing in our society. It really is meaningless. I truly wonder if we were all unaware of our ‘age’, how it would affect us. Would two people the same physical age, be very different? Would one 70 year old be bent and decrepit and another still be somewhat youthful and energetic, simply because they didn’t have that definer to force them into a behavior? I mean, even with our age obsessed culture, you see people like William Shatner or Terry Funk doing things that people half their age can’t do, while other people hit 40 or 50 and look like they’re dead. What if we didn’t know? We all go through the opening for our lives, childhood, where we learn how to function and interact. Some of us do it better or quicker than others. And there is a point, where the body fails to reproduce the cells needed to survive any longer and we die of old age. But the mind is the power behind it, and a strong mind, creates a strong life and body. Some people seem to WANT to be old, so they can… I don’t know. They hit like 26 and start complaining that they can’t do things like they used to. In what sane world is 26 old and feeble? Seriously, at 26 you have only just begun your adult life, if you are having problems functioning, you are probably doing something wrong.

Then there are age limits. If you are 16 you can drive a car. You know, there are some 13 and 14 year old’s that I have met that could probably drive a car responsibly. On the other hand, there are people 40+ that should not be allowed near the driver’s side of a car. It’s ok though, cause they are old enough to drive. There shouldn’t just be a driver’s test, but a competency test, and maybe one that has to be repeated here and there just to make sure, because I am pretty sure that behind the wheel of a car is where some of the most stupendously stupid decisions are made. Age is not a factor. Age does not make you a good driver. How long you’ve been driving does not either. Yet, here is another example of how age obsessed our culture is.

I think what really ages us, is not years, but what we do with them. I look around, and I see the people who are ‘old’, regardless of their physical age, are the people who stopped learning. Stopped creating. Just stopped. Many of them as soon as they were done with whatever schooling they were involved in. The minute you stop delving into the new and novel, is the moment you start to die. So many people are caught up in their past. They still look at the world the same way they did in college or high school, and still listen to the same music, and even watch the same movies. Nothing against nostalgia, but if that is all your life is, you are on your way out. No matter how old you live to be. The people who keep going are the ones who don’t stopping learning and creating things. They have something to drive them forwards. They want more out of life, and age doesn’t present that much of an obstacle to them.

Grow up. A coupling of words people throw around easily. I think, however, the best definition of this, is that of responsibility. Not the responsibility of a house or kids or anything like that, but simply the responsibility for ones actions. A grown up is someone that is responsible for what they say and do. Most people never grow up, and in this respect, that is part of the problem with the world. Most people won’t accept blame when they screw up. It’s an insecurity that does no one any good. I find that no matter how angry I may be about something, if the person who is responsible just owns up to it, it tends to dissipate that anger… unless of course it’s something they do again and again, in which case it doesn’t mean much. It’s hard to be angry with someone who comes right out and admits they screwed up or made a mistake and apologizes for it. Being ‘Grown Up’ is not about what clothes your wear or what you do with your life. Being ‘Grown Up’ is taking responsibility for your life, and what you do with it. Really, that is all it is.

Unfortunately, we seem to live in a land of old children…