Gnothi Seauton

“I’m old tomorrow.” “I’m going to be old when I leave uni.” “I feel old already.” Three phrases you will never hear me say. You know why? Because I’m not afraid of getting old and therefore you won’t find me complaining about it.

I relish the idea of being old. Few things excite me more. I can look cool (white hair is always a win), expect people to do things for me, scare people out of their minds by pretending I can’t remember my name, look back over my life and remember all the crazy cool things, the people I have loved, the people who loved me and so so so much more.

When I hear others talk of getting old, it’s with dread or at least a definite sense of regret and distaste. Why is our society so against aging? Why are people scared about it? This is one thing I honestly cannot understand.

People act as if they’re part of an unfortunate group of people who are doomed to age and become old and as if there is, somewhere out there, a group of people who never grow old but enjoy eternal youth.

Guess what people, you’re just the same as everyone else and we’re getting old at exactly the same rate you are. Nobody gets there faster or slower than any other person. We’re all on target for the same end. Why fight it?

Not only do people hate ageing, some also think of it as some inexplicable mandate to become boring. Many people give in to this stereotype, they call it “being mature” or “growing up”, the rest of us look on in horror as our friends become sweater-vest* wearing killjoys with bifocal glasses and a hatred for anything that isn’t gardening. Some of us then assume that the day when a person turns into such a sad creature is inevitable and they envision it occurring around their 21st birthday, or their 25th, or maybe just when they get married. I sit there in utter confusion at the conclusions of both of these groups of people.

Maturity is not maturity if you do it intentionally, instead it’s just sucking up and being a person you think others want you to be. Maturity in my book is simply knowing the times when you can be immature, not eradicating immaturity from your personality. If a person changes for the worse then it is their choice, not some genetic time-bomb.

Some of you are probably puzzling over the title of this blog by now. Gnothi Seauton (γνῶθι σεαυτόν) is a Greek maxim which was inscribed in the forecourt of the temple of Apollo at Delphi (thanks Wikipedia) and it means simply: Know Thyself. It is something I’ve really taken on board recently. I plan to know myself inside out and learn who I am and why I am that way so that I needn’t feel pressured to change myself. If I’m comfortable in Me then what need is there to “mature” or force a change in ourselves in order pander to other people’s stereotypes and foibles? None whatsoever.

Relax people. Learn who you are, and learn to love who you are. We all change with time but change needn’t be enforced. We will all change just as we will all grow old. I plan to have fun along the way, that’s all.

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Things are rarely what they seem at first glance…

*I’ve nothing against sweater-vests, it just seemed like an appropriate part of the stereotype. :)

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