Age tends to be like an elephant in the room with a lot of us wrapping our identities around it and the achievements we have or have not stacked up over the years. What common misconceptions do we entertain when it comes to age?
- “You get wiser with age.” Age does help because the older you are the more experiences you have but that’s if you tried things and actually made an attempt to actively live and grow. Wisdom is earned through trial and error, failures, successes, owning up to past mistakes, taking steps to do better once you know better. Use every year to mine your life for valuable lessons and then execute to ensure you are stimulating growth in your life.
- “Age is nothing but a number.” Age comes with wear and tear as well as undeniable generational gaps. You won’t always be a spring chicken and won’t always be in the know about the culture of the day but you’re lucky if you get to live long enough to experience a whole lot of wear and tear. Use the years – which seem to quickly add up and multiply- to cultivate an attitude of gratitude for the gift of life.
- “You become less emotional with age.” Some friends of mine claim this isn’t entirely true. Yes, you’re a bit more mature when dealing with problems but mainly because nobody will give you the leeway they would have given someone younger. So at times the emotions are pent up and not processed or let out as they would have been earlier in our lives. No one is tending to you anymore so that self-care becomes more important. More than ever, you’re all you’ve got. Actually you probably have people who depend on you before you’re absolutely ready: children, parents, your friends need you for bigger problems, more responsibilities at work while you still try to chase your dreams, etc. And when you make mistakes, more is at stake. Major life decisions need to be made sooner rather than later and you become more aware of your mortality. All this sounds like the perfect emotional storm. Use those emotions to fuel your relationships with other people; those emotions – coupled with your varied life experiences – mean you’re better equipped to empathise with someone else while being able to offer them an objective solution or simply a shoulder to cry on. Oh and don’t forget to express your sentimentality by setting up traditions and rituals with close friends and family. You (and they) will need those memories later.
- “Women are no longer all that ‘marketable’ at 30.” Do any of you really believe this? I don’t think so. I’ll just say a 20-year-old man or woman might not be all that marketable if he or she doesn’t know how to work the market.
- “Life begins at 40.” Only if you sowed the right seeds a decade or two before.
- “If I don’t make it in my 20s, I never will and I’m a failure.” That’s true ONLY IF YOU CHOOSE TO BELIEVE IT. You can reinvent yourself over and over at any age to be whoever you want to be. Don’t limit what life could give you. Learn to take good advantage of curveballs and surprises. Your self worth, at all times, is what you believe it is.
BONUS: “I’m a product of my childhood and upbringing, I can’t change.” From the day you turned 18, the ball was in your court. You actually can go ahead and change your life as you see fit. And nobody understands anymore when you blame your past. As an adult, you no longer have that leeway. Especially if you have resources that can show you how different life could be – for example, the phone and Internet on which you’re reading this article. If you’re in an environment where you have even a modicum of freedom, claim your power and create your future. You are luckier than you realise.
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