5/25/2010

What is in an age?




What is in an age? Does it tell you anything much about a person? I am not so sure these days. Some people take their experiences in life and allow themselves to grow, in fact strive for that greater wisdom that comes from digesting all of their experiences and those others share with them. Their attitude is life is a journey of discovery.

But it is not a given that growth equates to age. Many of us have met grown adults whom we refer to as teen agers, not ready to face the inevitable fact they are aging and should act age appropriate. Party behavior is great for dorm parties in college but on a middle aged adult, it seems somewhat silly. I think it is entirely possible to have fun, cut up and enjoy life while aging but in a more responsible way. I also think some folks are self centered and think the only experiences in life that truly have value are the ones they have had, firsthand. They miss out on others insights. Thus, they remain somewhat locked in their own perceptions and biases to the world. This stunts personal growth and makes these types of people less interesting.

I thought of this a great deal on Saturday as I attended a party for my husband’s birthday. It was amazing to sit back and see, not only him enjoying himself, but everyone present. I have never heard of a party where everyone that was invited showed up. In fact, people that were not invited asked to attend! I think this is because of my husband’s ability, even at his age close to 60, he sees value in everyone and people he meets sense that quality. He enjoys not only sharing his life but hearing, in depth, about others. Folks respect him for that and value him in their lives.
Yes, he is indeed a great teacher on life for so many that have gotten to know him and spend time with him. His wisdom is immense as he has made a lifetime of concerted choices to continue to learn. He believes in change, in openness and also that young people have as much to contribute to our lives as older adults. He is not close minded and feels everyone has a voice that should be heard,

My husband has mastered that long ago art of storytelling. He can tell a story on practically any topic. The material he uses comes from people he has met who are as diverse as they come. From the man who lived in Vietnam, to the close friend shot down at point blank range when he tried to help an older woman being accosted, to the early days of flying on small Cessna planes. Yes, he lives a rich full life and he practices active listening. Anyone that has a story they want to share will find a worthy audience in him. This information is fodder he uses for later recanting stories of human interest to others that have not met the wide range of people he has met in his lifetime, and continues to meet.

Adults that have this attitude are young at heart. They see limitless possibilities of learning with each brand new day and with everyone they come in contact with, no matter what their station in life. Are you like this, like the toddler exploring your surroundings with abandonment, reaching for more truths and widening your knowledge base? If not, trust me, you will age quickly and be less interesting. Friends will not flock to your birthday party and you will deprive only yourself of the joys on this earth and life’s greatest lessons, those we learn and impart to others.
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