Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Real Age

Earlier today, I was watching Steven Colbert interview Pete Seeger. When asked about his age, Seeger said that best he knew, he was 93. That would be like my grandparents - they knew some information about the year and month they were born in. The year there was a huge tropical storm and about three months after the neighbor's oldest daughter got married. Based on those reference points, you could derive their age. I am guessing they suffered less from things like mid life crisis - it was not a specific date that triggered a rush of angst. 
It turns out that J has chosen this quote by Satchel Paige for us to write about today:  How old would you be if you didn't know how old you are?
I imagine I would be at least ten years younger in my mind. The number could recede instead of moving forward over time because my assumed year of birth could be wrong. It could be the tropical storm from a few years later was being referenced. It would be so immensely liberating to be able to say, I don't know how old I am exactly - the pressure to achieve age based milestones would all but disappear. My life would be measured relative to the age of my progeny and how well I had lived it. I may be set free from quantitative measures of success, each pegged to a certain age.
And when it was useful for me to be older than I really was, I would have the option to err in the other direction. Instead of being pinned down to my age, I would always be able to dance around it, choosing a number that I felt most comfortable with given the situation. Age would be in my imagination so I would never be out of time to reach my goals.
And here is J's take on the topic


sandhya said...

An excellent point. I think it harks back to my grandmother's time and beyond. People did not consider it important to note down the date of birth unless it was in terms of the lunar calendar to make the janampatri. Even now, in rural areas in India, it is not unusual to see this.

Wouldn't it be wonderful in some ways to be rid of the compulsions of knowing one's age, knowing the time of the day, and so on?

Hope said...

Age, I wish no one knew what age they were. There was no way of judging or knowing that. I totally agree with you that it brings a lot of pressure and expectations with it. It deprives you of your internal peace. It makes you feel like a loser because you know that you're not what so many others are at your age. When actually, it doesn't even matter whether you achieved what someone else achieved or not.
Every life journey is beautiful and unique in its own way, and should be appreciated for that.