For a number that’s man-made and only a loose indicator of maturity, personality and health, we sure treat our age like a freaking binding legal document. Granted, I’m in the fiery thick of my late twenties, a time where none of my friends nor I can shake our notions of what our ages are supposed to mean. But so many life decisions and cultural stereotypes and socioeconomic webs seem to turn on the wheels of age and time and how those interact. Each decade comes with a new rulebook of should and shouldn’t.
Maybe we’re obsessed with age because it’s such a quantifiable manifestation of our time on earth. It’s one of the only units of measurement — other than money and followers, which, as tools, are equally offensively blunt — against which we can track and compare our own experiences against that of others. Everything else is just…soft.
But that softness? It’s kind of everything. At least that’s what became abundantly clear to me after I spoke with the above 10 women — whose ages range from teenager to centenarian — about what age and time have come to mean to them. As appealing as numbers and rules and order are, humans are complex and messy and beautiful, and we’d be wise to celebrate the gray instead of analyze the black and white.
Read above and then challenge yourself to zoom out and appreciate your poetically insignificant place on the infinite map of your experiences on this crazy little planet.