Tuesday, September 2, 2008
Aging is a process, and aged is a state, but real “age,” at least as it’s depicted on a driver’s license, is a vast artifice. You see, chronological age is only as relevant as its implications: having a physical body that has withstood thirteen corporeal years is one thing, but the assumptions, generalities, and social constructs that go along with that amount of time are what are truly meant by, “Oh, he’s just thirteen.”
So calling one of those Harvard-bound preteens a “twelve-year-old” is just as misleading as calling him dumb, or unmotivated. Sure, it’s accurate so far as the calendar is concerned, but attaching all the trappings and beliefs normally assigned to people of that birth year is preposterous.
So twenty could be thirty, thirty could be eighty, and ninety could be fifteen. Each moment of the present is a shared commodity anyhow, a common “now” of which we all equally own a part. Our interconnectivity makes our ages something of a wash, or at least interchangeable. If one can share a moment with someone else—or, really, share every moment with someone else—then surely the amount of days one has been here is inherently less valent than one's humanness, and one's ability to transcend age and into something more captivating—perhaps one's science, or credulity.
We are transported on jagged floes of time, afloat on embalmed menaces irreversibly destined for later destinations. Thusly oriented, we presume these swaths our rightful carriers, and align our self-concepts by the blurry way-stations of days past. We pivot our stories on crowded platforms pockmarked by strewn birthdays and heeded demarcations. There are none more tortured than us, time travelers resigned to ride, freezing away our virility on age's piked glaciers.
But is chronology not simply a candle, a votive resonance with a wick, a body, and—most vitally—an extinguishable quality? Like an hourglass than can turned on its side and halted, age is a conflagration that can be smothered, muted, and mutated into inertness. Whereas some might believe the floes too mighty, these sheets can be stopped and stowed, made stationary against the rhetorical cross-examination of “But I don't feel very old.”
Belief is time’s lone arbiter—perceptions of youth and elderliness the vales in which age resides. It is from these hamlets that classifications arise, glutinous and damning like the summer haze. Twenty, thirty, and all the rest are viscous crags, plucking victims from time’s beneficent streets.
Stay Specious, Age