I just read someone’s blog, where there was much lamentation about turning 25, and having a “quarter-life” crisis.
It’s only the young who, I find, like to talk of themselves as growing old; just talking, because, obviously, they know that 25 is not old. They have parents and grand-parents, these moaners and groaners; it’s just fashionable to pretend that the teens are the greatest time of one’s life, and talk about becoming old and decrepit, when the reality is very different. They must know that they are still at the peak of their physical appearance, that wrinkles and forgetfulness and the creak of old bones and the dangers of Anno Domini are far away yet.
Do they say this and mean it? I can’t really think so. In your teens, one’s personality is at yet not fully shaped. Emotions, each more intense than the other, govern one’s mind and heart. One has certainly not even begun trying for maturity. Hormones rage, and often rule one’s reactions to situations. Small things loom large in one’s horizon, and one lacks the ability to look at the larger picture.
It is after one has entered one’s twenties that one’s mind truly begins to mature; one learns how to get along with other people, to see their point of view, to take one’s own misfortunes with a smile, and empathize with others’ woes.
That’s why I find that those who are older (I still don’t say “old” because I truly think that health problems excepted, “old” is a state of mind) do not keep saying that they are “old”. I may no longer be young, but I have not achieved the plateau of rigid thinking and lack of interest that, to me, signal “old”….or the ravine of deteriorating intellect that lies beyond this point.
I find that it’s not “old”…but “growing older”…it’s a process, a part of life that starts with birth, and stops at the point where one’s mind and intellect stagnate, with the thinking, “I don’t need to learn any more; I will not look at other points of view, be open to new ideas, and be willing to listen and change.”
And what is it about the 25th or 30th birthday that brings on these moans? Is that yesterday you were young and wonderful, and today you are old and withered? Why have we adopted this Western concept of designating one day out the others to draw a line between (wanted) youth and (unwanted) age? One’s transition from 20 to 25 takes five years, and to 30…ten years, and it doesn’t happen in a day!
So…you pseudo-old people in your early twenties…think over things, and you will stop moaning about having grown old! No doubt it sounds very witty and cool…but as you slip into your fashionable gear and go out with your friends for your birthday party…you know it isn’t true.
And…. what makes anyone think that they will live for a hundred years (calling 25 a quarter-life crisis implies this!). “Old” can, indeed, be achieved at 30 as much as at 80….and there is no guarantee about one’s life, tomorrow a quick illness or a careless driver can walk off with your life.
I detest ads and conversation which indicate that such physical attributes of aging as wrinkles or loose skin or whitening hair are things to be avoided at all costs and something negative. I often think of Joan Rivers who joked after her face lifts, that others would look at her and say, “The old hag hasn’t aged a bit!” …and of Asha Bhosle’s remark about remixes for old songs…“buddhi kO jEvar jitnA bhI pehnAO, buddhi phir bhI buddhI hai!” (However much you bedeck an old woman with jewellery, she’s still an old woman!)
How much easier things would be if we didn’t have a culture glorifying youth…but accepting each age as it comes.
And if any of you comment on this post, saying, “At your age, you write very well…” well, you better enjoy the stage of life you are at, because your days are numbered!