I was talking to a friend recently about getting “older” and how it really sucks on the one hand but on the flip side, I’ve never felt more liberated in my life. He laughed and said that I reminded him of a line in an old country/western song – depicted in the title of this post.
It’s pretty accurate, at least in terms of who I am.
I have never been one for “labels” of any kind. I’m much more interested in what’s going on in the “inside” opposed to what someone is displaying on the outside. So much so that when my daughter was younger, if she didn’t come home from school right away, I would worry and think that I wouldn’t be able to describe what she was wearing if the police should come asking.
Our American culture seems to be obsessed with labels, more interested in the packaging and fizz than the substance. “Older” people are invisible, dismissed and ignored as being too set in their ways, dated, and useless, when in fact some of the most interesting people I have ever taken the time to talk to, were ones that most folks seemed to overlook, simply because of their “packaging”. I was lucky that I came to that realization at a very young age, when an art director, who was a great mentor to me in my early years, introduced me to the legends of photography. They were all “old”, at least to my young eyes, but I quickly realized that age had nothing to do with how they saw the world.
It amazes me when seemingly intelligent people use catch phrases to describe others and don’t even realize that in the process that they are the ones with “narrow” sights and they would do better to open their eyes and see beyond. My eyesight has gotten worse as I have aged, but at the same time, my vision has gotten so much better.
When I was younger, there was a popular saying “don’t trust anyone over 30”. I’m glad I never really bought into that notion, because I would have been the one who was shortchanged. Don’t judge people because of gender, color or age or the type of car they drive. Take the time and the energy to look past the packaging and really see. You’ll probably be surprised that ignorance, narrow mindedness, fear, and pessimism comes in all sexes, shapes, sizes and ages.
“How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you was?”
Satchel Paige (1906-1982) Baseball legend who continued his successful career well into his 60’s.