Monday, October 1, 2012

"Age is what you make of it"

Do you hear the saying "life is what you make of it"? If not, then it's the ultimate expression of self-determination and freedom to choose. It's also a reminder of how much we are able to shape our own lives. For instance, though you can't choose who your biological parents are nor how you grew up, you can largely choose things like what work to engage in, where to live, who to marry, and what sort of lifestyle to lead. Ultimately, it's a statement against the philosophy of determinism -- that everything happens without the possibility of an alternative ending.

I was talking to a friend earlier, with whom the topic of getting older often comes up. My basic argument is that age isn't really as relevant as we make it to up. Sure there are physiological implications of growing older, but we gain so many experiences as we age. And when on the things that really matter like friendship and romance, you like someone for who they are as you see them -- not some idea of who they were years ago. It's probably a much easier task said than done, yet I feel like it's something we should keep it mind always. Culture plays a large role in how we approach the topic of growing old, but its influence is limited by what we make it to be.

Going along these lines, I uttered a phrase that I think is a nice quotation to summarize my attitude on age: "Age is what you make of it". It incorporates the aforementioned freedom of choice into the issue of age, to remind of the reality that we are what we make ourselves to me. Age is an oft-used excuse for things we want to do but willing to pursue. Of course I don't expect a 60-year old man to play in the NFL, but for the small things like going on a cross-country hike, this is attainable to anyone regardless of age (it might just take longer if you're older...).