The Art of Growing Old While Staying Young

Maya's grandfather turns 80 today.

Maya’s grandfather turns 80 today.

Maya Sherne, Staff Writer

Today is my grandfather’s 80th birthday, and yesterday the family gathered to celebrate with a party.  As he was reminiscing, telling stories of his high school years, and life as an adult, it occurred to me that with teenagers everything is life or death. However, by the time you reach my grandfather’s age, you don’t even remember the things you were concerned about at 16.

For instance, most teens, whether they are honest about it or not, are very concerned with what people think of them.  Nobody wants to be viewed in a negative light.  We spend so much time worrying about how we are perceived by others that we don’t take the time to stop and create our own unique identity.  As a high schooler, it’s all about fitting in.  Nobody wants to be too different. But when you’re older, the things that set you apart, the qualities that make you unique are the ones others most appreciate.  If you can bring something special to a group of people, that is when you are truly accepted.

Teenagers just want to grow up already.  We were so eager to start high school at 14.  We counted down the days until we received our license on our 16th birthday, and we continue to anticipate our 18th birthday with plans of lottery tickets and clubs. We spend endless amounts of time wanting to grow up, imagining the future instead of living in the chaotic, fantastic present.

We endlessly plan for our future when we will be adults.  We don’t only plan our outfits each day, but we plan what college we hope to attend and what job we would like to have.  Every part of our teenage years is a building block for our future, so when the time comes, we will be able to achieve our ideal plan.

Our obsession with time and age is fed by our “over-programmed” lifestyle, where all of us are trying to fit in to many activities into one day.  We are so busy working on deadlines for school or our endless hours of homework that we don’t take the time to really live and enjoy each day.  We rush around, wishing we had more time to get things done.

However, as you grow older, you are no longer fixated with age and how your actions will affect your future. In all honesty, you are more concerned with the present than the past.  You live life just for today because you know you can’t change the past. We should learn from our grandparents, and keep age in perspective.  We strive to be older and wiser, but once you are older you wish you could do it all over again.

When you’re eighty, you too wish you had more time. But instead of wasting that time on extracurriculars, you want that time to live out your life.  There comes a time when you wish that you had realized that there is something new to look forward to each day instead of just mindlessly busying your days when you were a teenager.

With age comes great loss: loss of modern vocabulary, and technological savvies, loss of hair, loss of memory, and loss of love.   We cannot waste our time wishing we were older, because soon you will be thinking that you’re to old to do something.  They say youth is wasted on the young, but hopefully we can learn from our elders and by the time we turn 80, we can reminisce about our successful pasts, incredible presents, and promising futures.