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What does our age mean?

Submitted:Aug 21, 2011    Reads: 261    Comments: 115    Likes: 52   

Am I the same person I was back then?
Could somebody please point out
the emotional, human markers
That prove I've grown in the last twenty years?
I do indeed know we are born
With sharpie-inscribed expiration dates
On the bottom of our left feet,
But still, what proof is there of mental aging?
What if - and this thought petrifies me -
I only think I've changed as a person,
But really, I haven't changed at all.
What is age?
It seems like merely a cumbersome number,
Indicating yet another stretch mark or wrinkle.
Do my insides, my sentiments, age as well?
What's the emotional difference
Between 8 and 8.5 or 41 and 42?
Is the me of today any "more"
(Braver, stronger, wiser…)
Than the me of yesteryear?
If yes, how so?
What makes certain that I'm different
From the kid I once was,
That I've truly aged?
Maybe, we adults are the kids we grew up as.
We're just bigger now, in size.
It seems doctors only created age
To remind us how close we are to death.
As a kid, while I lacked
The responsibilities I have now,
I had other responsibilities.
Yours truly hosted tea parties for Barbies.
I endured the strenuous activity
Of ensuring Rock Barbie
Was never seated adjacent to Housewife Barbie,
As both vied constantly for Ken's attention.
I further had to complete chores,
Mostly the tasks others didn't want to do.
I went to school for 8 hours a day,
To come home and partake in more activity.
And today, at an age I rather leave undisclosed -
Strike that (I rather not make a kerfuffle
Over a number with no meaning), I'm 40-
I remain responsible for duties
That mirror the ones I had as a child.
I make sure my son sits across from my daughter
At the dinner table (to prevent wars),
I complete household jobs,
The very ones no one else will put up with,
And I have 8 hours of work, followed by more to do.
Years go by - I age in numerical value -
But I feel as if "my person" isn't changing.
I still have strengths I boast about
And weaknesses I try to conceal.
Do we grow intellectually,
And if we do,
Is it a gradual process that we don't see,
Or is life like a punctuated evolution -
Where all in one day, on my deathbed,
I realize my place in the world,
The meaning of my age,
And who I'm supposed to be?
For now, age looks like a number
we should just ignore.
The same mistakes, worries, and routine life
Lead me to question aging
Because nothing seems to have changed
In the last few years, days, hours, minutes and seconds.
Minutes even passed as you read this,
And now I'm a little older.
Does that mean I've changed
In this diminutive elapse of time?
What are these numbers we consider our age?
And should we, humans, live ageless?


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