I've made it clear that I don't want to age. I turned 29 a few weeks ago and have continually joked about how it would be my final birthday. I think that our attitude towards aging is a product of the culture and society that we've been brought up in.
As children, we can't wait to grow up. We watch our parents and their friends having a swell time and taking part in conversations that we so desperately wish we could be a part of. Then we finally achieve adulthood and we pray for the aging process to stop. Many cultures revere their elderly. Americans, for the most part, view the elderly as a burden. I believe I'm guilty of that as well.
You hear about, witness, and possibly even take part in crazy attempts to make yourself younger. Businesses that promise to make us look younger make billions of dollars each year, and we see the ads on TV: Botox, lasers to remove hair, lasers to correct far-sightedness, lasers to do whatever they do to gross veins that pop out of people's legs.
In Star Trek: Generations, the villain of the story describes time as a predator, "a fire in which we burn." In the end, Captain Picard alternatively describes time as a companion that reminds us to cherish the moments we have.
I'd be lying if I said I look forward to turning 30 in eleven months. I suppose I'm one of those people who wishes to remain perpetually in his twenties. But that's not going to happen. And I'd like to say I optimistically view time as a companion, but I don't. I've seen what the ravages of time have done to my elderly family members. With time comes a loss of senses, a greater risk for diseases, strokes, heart failures, dementia and memory loss. To think about getting old can be depressing.
But there are some blessings that come along with aging as well. We get to watch history unfold before our eyes. We get to see things change, and while these changes aren't always for the better, it can be thrilling to be a part of something bigger than ourselves. We get to watch the children that come after us and see their potential and what they can accomplish with their lives.
Growing up has its share of trials, but looking back, would you really want to go through it all over again?