Friday, July 20, 2012

Is age just a number?

My plan was to take a day off and simply chill.  Then it hit me.  I have nothing else to do.  The most exciting part of the day has been reading the Happy Birthday wishes from my Facebook family. 
Today, I turn 53.  My status on Facebook says it all, “I’m much too young for my age.”
I’m way past using that phrase, “age is just a number,” but it’s the best way to describe my feeling 30 with a birth certificate that says 53.  My age has become a source of major contention for me over the years.  Sometimes I don’t know what to do with being measured by years when I’m not willing to function within the limits of age.
Age can work to your advantage in certain situations.  Then there are those times when you’re left screaming due to being limited because of age.  It happened to me recently when I contemplated applying for a job in Arizona.  The job description asked for a person between 25 and 35.  After blasting a few bad words, I conceded that they were right to give an age range.  The person hired would assume the role of leadership once the person in charge retires.
I had to give them credit for telling the truth. Often organizations have a wish list that is kept private.  After putting energy in the process you get your feelings hurt when they hire some young sucker right out of college with no experience.  Age is used to weed out those who are assumed to be too old to learn new tricks.  Companies are more prone to go with the puppy than the grown dog. Maybe they fear we will bite.
Maybe they think I'm walking around with one foot in the grave.  Who wants to hire a person creeping toward social security and health problems? Yup, they say age is nothing but a number, but people make assumptions based on that number.
It’s one of the reasons I hate the application process.  The line that asks for date of birth served as my ticket in the door when I was one of those puppies.  With experience far beyond my years, I was able to use youth like a magic wand.  It’s funny how you gain more experience over the years, but it’s viewed different after you pass that half century mark.
If age is just a number, and in many cases that’s true, what does one do when the age doesn’t fit the person?  It’s impossible for me to be stuck in 53 year-old ways.  I’m not even sure what that means.  What does 53 look like?  How does 53 act?  What are 53 year-old tastes?  Do people place limits on themselves due to their age?
Of course, there are certain benefits to getting older.  Certain things don’t make me tick like they did in the past.  I don’t have patience for shallow things anymore.  I’ve discovered that you have people of all ages who haven’t figured life out.  There has to be more to living than going through the motions to pay those bills and prove to others you have made it to the other side.
That’s the confusing thing about being 53.  I just want to be left alone.  I’m tired of the games people play.  I don’t want to waste time on other people’s drama.  I just want to find a comfortable place to rest.  How do you do that when people use your age to define what it means to be in that space?
Darn it! I’m too young to act like a man ready to be sent to the pasture.  Shucks darn it! I’m too old to be limited by what others think of me.
Age is just a number. Or, is It more than a number?

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