Tuesday, September 19, 2006

what defines "aging?"

I keep thinking about the label "aging rock star" and thinking, "what the heck does that mean?" And just to clarify, I am really asking myself that question, not just asking it rhetorically here as a way to say something little and make it sound more important.

I've been thinking about where the lines are that define young, aging, old. We all begin to age the minute we are conceived and we keep aging at the same rate throughout our lives. It's just that there is a line, and when we cross it, our age is in the "getting older" category, rather than the "in the first part" category. I won't use the "you are as old as you feel/act" platitude. We are, chronologically and biologically aging. What I may disagree with is people's concept of what we should be doing/thinking/feeling at a certain age, although there are some broad guidelines that usually work.

Getting back to what aging means and when it's appropriate to categorize someone as aging. I think usually it's in the second half of their life. I'll be 45 this fall which means that I will be aging, except that several of my female relatives have lived well past 90, my grandma past 100, so maybe by that definition I'm not quite aging.

Aging might also depend on the context. For example, a beauty queen or supermodel could be aging when she's 27. A physics professor wouldn't be aging until she was at least 50. And categories that are defined by generations could have a reverse effect imposed. A 60 year old grandmother is "a young grandmother" in my books.

What prompted this all in my thinking was thinking of the Red Hot Chili Peppers as aging. I think of them as aging because they are about my age. They've been playing since the 80s. They are most likely all in the second half of their lives. They are older than most of their fans too, I'd guess. They're not in the same category as Mick Jagger or Rod Stewart. Some aging rock stars exceed all expectation. I suspect it happens when you have lots of wives and kids. You can't afford to stop being a rock star.

Aging is not a bad thing, in my books anyway. There are lots of advantages to aging. People take you more seriously, and you stop taking yourself so seriously. It gets easier to do your own thing because you've tried lots of things and figured out at least some of what you want to do. You can still do most of the things that you like to do. In the aging category the body still works, the brain's alert, you usually have some money and you have lots of friends and experiences and choices. You've had time to get good at some things that make you feel a sense of purpose. There's been time for spiritual/intellectual/artistic exploration. There's still lots of time to do a lot more. These days, there's a long time between "aging" and "old." The beginning of "aging" is a pretty good place to be.

question: when do you know you are halfway through your life?

mompoet - aging, yup, definitely aging

No comments: