Saturday, July 14, 2012

Birthdays...celebrate them.

At almost 23, there is absolutely no reason to lie about my age. I'm old enough to do most age restricted things, and I still look young. Therefore celebrating my birthday is a still a time I enjoy. The later in life people get, the less big of a deal people make about their age. That is until you get to be fairly darn old. If you make it to say 80 or so, you can start bragging about your age again instead of hiding it.

Some women really dread reaching thirty. Nowadays being thirty is not a signal of you getting old in my opinion, but some women really hate the idea. Perhaps it's because I'm still over seven years away from being the big 3-0, but seriously get a grip, people are living longer every day. Of course, your metabolism starts slowing down, and you can get the middle-age spread going on in your abdomen. For the most part though, you're probably as healthy as you were at 29. Perhaps it's because I've pretty much been a little chunky since puberty, but I don't really fear that.

Men seem to be good until they are around forty. That's when mid-life crisis begins. Hair starts to gray, the beer gut forms, and they begin to feel less virile. That's what society would have us believe anyway. Society teaches us to fear growing older nowadays.

What is growing older? Once upon a time, the oldest member of a tribe would be revered for his/her ability to survive through the years. They would be respected, and he/she would be used as a source of knowledge. Now going through the second or third generation of, "Never trust anyone over thirty," people have forgotten the value of aging.

Remember playing the game of Life? You get life tiles when you experience life changing events and gain new knowledge such as having a baby and learning a new trade. If you had a ton of life tiles and not a lot of money, you could still win the game of life at the end of the game. With all that age comes more experience, more life tiles. Sure you get the bad experience with the good experience, but out of every experience you gain wisdom and sometimes maturity. If properly respected, this wisdom can be valuable to young whipper snappers such as myself.

So much can be learn by so called "old (Believe me when I say I do not believe that 30 somethings, 40 somethings, and even 50 somethings are anywhere near old.)" people. Every year (meaning the last two I've taught), I try to make some sort of activity where my students have to talk to an older person for some reason. Lots of times, I'll do it when we're studying the Industrial Revolution. Now none of my kids knows someone who was alive during the Industrial Revolution, but enough things have been invented in the past seventy or so years that it is pretty easy to give them this assignment. Does your grandmother remember when they got their first color tv, or does mom remember when she first heard about cellphones?

I hope my kids see some value in this assignment. I always love reading their interview results. It's really important to listen to these individuals, because much is to be gained from them. Of course the individuals usually picked for these assignments are 60+, but sometimes I'll have a kid insist that the oldest person they know is their 35 year old mom. I always have to chuckle a little when this happens, but at 15 and even 23 there's always something to learn from a 35 year old too.

So many of my friends are older than I am. That does not mean they act older than me by any means. I really enjoy talking with them about their college days and high school days. It's really cool to hear about history from a personal point of view. Which is kind of silly, because anything that happens during the period you're alive sounds like it shouldn't be history, but it really is. I was in seventh grade when 9-11 happened, but that doesn't keep me from counting it as history. Friends in their thirties and forties help you see that you can get through the confusing years of young adulthood.

I look forward to being older, so that I can share my wisdom with future generations. I try to teach my kids to trust the over thirty crowd every once in awhile, because they were once under thirty too. One day they will be the over thirty crowd, and they'll want to be listened to as well.

So enter your new age with pride, whether you be 23, 53, or, 83. Celebrate that God saw fit to give you another year to love, to learn, and to share with those around you. At 22, my students still trust that I was once their age. I try to offer up any wisdom I can, but often I refer to those who are much wiser than I for help. I often don't have enough perspective to help with the tough questions. So thanks to all my friends 23 and up for helping me learn about life. Your history is as valuable to me, as any history I study in class and books.


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