The adventure of aging: delightful and breathtaking
Most people around me become panicked and afraid when facing the process of aging – no one wants to get old. Our global society strives for eternal youth, a teenie-like appearance, and vitality. This is evident in advertising, media, art, and the influence of celebrities. This desire for eternal youth unites us across cultural, religious, and political boundaries, whether in a democracy, a socialist republic, an autarky, or a dictatorship. It feels that our global consensus is to maintain youth for as long as possible, to avoid the perceived decline of the body and mind, and to embody perfection. Young yay, old nay!
But getting older can be incredibly fun and adventurous as the body and mind change and mature in exciting ways.
There were first signs of physical shifts that required me to alter my behavior. For example, my hair changed and allowed for new hairstyles now. Short haircut? Why not, it appears to fit my ever-sharpening face shape. Mohawk? For sure! Undercut and side parting with rainbow coloring? Absolutely. Fortunately, there’s no single sign of grey hairs so far. But there were more differences: Fine laughter lines showed up and completed my naughty eyes, adding character and maturity to my facial expressions. The length and quality of my sleep changed, and I found myself going to bed earlier than I used to, namely around midnight. And my sexual interests shifted from casual encounters to seeking meaningful connections (connections, got it?). I started to value and prioritize the care and health of my body, recognizing it as a complex and delicate machinery that needs to be regularly maintained, cleaned, oiled, and repaired. Growing older brings a sense of responsibility for my own well-being.
The spiritual and mental changes that come with age are even more noticeable and profound. In addition to a growing desire for family and children, my thinking has completely transformed over recent years. My reasoning and decision-making processes have evolved in ways that I couldn’t have imagined a few years ago. Decisions still come from spontaneity but with different frameworks and outcomes. The triggers may remain the same, but how I process and react to them has changed with time, experience, and updates in my character. This is exciting because, as I think and make decisions, I’m aware of how my thinking has altered from the past. It’s as if I’ve multiple parallel thinking scenarios, but only one is valid in the present moment. I think, therefore I’m – and have been. Multiple times.
I’ve also noticed that my perception of time and its usage have changed significantly over the years. In the past, I used to waste a lot of time on entertainment media such as movies and video games. Nowadays, I consider whether the value of a medium is worth the time I invest in it. I still enjoy leisure activities and silly distractions, but I’m more mindful of how much time I spend on them. Better to spend 1,000 hours in Minecraft than in Fortnite. Better to watch Star Trek than Star Wars. Better to read The Expanse series instead of the phone book. As a result, the quality of my leisure time and overall life has improved. Previously, I was also quick to try out every new technology, app, or social network that came my way, scrolling through endless timelines without thinking. Now, I apply mental filters and focus awareness on what’s truly valuable and reasonable. I’m more curious and discerning, yet examining new things thoroughly before deciding whether to use them. The gains in quality outweigh any losses in experience in the end, and my life feels more rounded and complete.
I also tend to remember the past being worse than it was. The farther back in time my memories go, the happier I feel about living in the present. From my current perspective, much of what I experienced in the past seems outdated and inferior, including societal norms, world events, technology, art, and everyday objects. I perceive yesterday’s societies as less open-minded and tolerant, music and fashion as dull and unappealing, technology and design as less advanced and efficient, and world politics as stagnant and narrow-minded. Despite its challenges and losses, I believe the present is the best time to be alive. If I were to travel back in time and live in the past, I would only be able to fully appreciate it if I lost all memories and knowledge of the future. Only then could I fully experience the zeitgeist of that time.
Though I may retain a sense of playfulness and youthfulness throughout my life, the physical and mental basis of my actions inevitably varies. My current self may feel like a completely different person compared to my past self, both mentally and physically. The present moment is the only constant in life, while everything else is subject to change and transformation. Aging can be seen as an exciting journey, filled with unexpected twists and turns, love (and) adventures, and the constant evolution of my body and the world around me. Life is a game with endless bugs and patches, add-ons and DLCs, and with permadeath at the end. Therefore, it’s essential to be present-orientated and aware during this journey, even though it may involve additional bugs and setbacks.
I’m finding the process of growing old to be an exciting journey. And I’m enjoying every moment of it 🧓🏽