Age and Aged

Our society confuses age for aged. Your age is an accident caused by the calendar. People do not become aged at the same rates.

There is a condition called Hutchinson-Gilford progeria syndrome (HGPS) or premature aging where the body ages early. In extreme cases young people in their teens can die of old age from this condition, science has just located the gene associated with HGPS. Most of us do not suffer from any such condition.

Our attitudes, self-perception and expectations, on the other hand, may cause similar warping of the time line. When we were about thirty we went house hunting. There was a two story house we looked at. We started to talk with the realtor. The couple before us had looked at the house, saw the stairs and said "we are too old for a house with all of those stairs." They were in their twenties.

A few years later we were with a group of people we know with children the same age as our children. We went as a group to a water park. The other parents would not go on the water slide because they were too old.

After turning fifty we have been white water rafting and kayaking on wild rivers in Alaska and the Dominican Republic. We have slid on cables across gorges a half mile up in the air. In addition we have been snorkeling, hiked and slid down waterfalls and much more.

On our Alaska trip we were the oldest people in the group. When we went kayaking on the Nanana River, outside Denali, the rest of our group was staying in the calmest parts of the river, while we hit the most exciting rapids. They believed that we could attempt anything.

On our most recent trip, we were paired with people that were twenty or more years younger than us. The age did not make a difference. We did the same activities, sometime we took the more strenuous activities. We should mention that we are also overweight and out of shape. Yet none of these made a difference.

Chronological age is based on the calendar. Becoming old is a state of mind. There was a tribe in South America that believed that the older you got the better you got. If they wanted to get a message to the next village they would send it by a twenty year old runner. If the message was more important they would send a thirty year old runner. If the message was urgent they would send a fifty year old runner. The sixty and seventy year old men were too valuable to be spared as messengers, they were placed on the mountain tops as lookouts since they had the most acute eye sight.

The older people got in this culture the better they got. Their physical bodies as well as their minds grew more skilled as the aged. The entire culture believed this and so they created the reality. We can do the same.

We all know that there are many things that get better over time. Some things need to age just to become useful. Infants, for example, are completely dependent. By the time they get to be teenagers that are completely independent and know everything.

From that time on our education is to teach us limitations. Many of the limitations are artificial. At one time we thought that all athletes peaked in their twenties. By their thirties their careers ended. Today, professional athletes continue their careers into their forties and fifties. We have even seen professional athletes hitting their peak after sever illness, like cancer.

Like cheese, wine, sauerkraut, paint and much more, requires time or aging to become useful. We too get better with time. Once we overcome the brainwashing from books, movies and television, we can realize our potential. Remember, when you were very young and a person of thirty was considered ancient. By the age of sixty, people were to be bald, feeble, toothless and senile. We all know people in their sixties and seventies who are extremely vital.


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