Sunday, June 24, 2007

All in the Mind

My best friend has always been interested in playing the piano. She marveled at the ability one’s fingers had on the white and ebony keys - to create loud or soft sounds, elation and utter despair. My response to her would be to learn playing then. What was stopping her from fulfilling this dream? With a sigh, she would tell me that she was far too old.

My colleague’s birthday was fast approaching. One morning, I found her staring out of her window with a look of resignation on her face. When I asked her what was wrong, she sighed deeply and said, “I am going to be 31 soon. I am so old!”

My best friend is 27 and she is too old to learn the piano. My colleague is 31 and she sighs that she is so old. What causes us to proclaim that label upon ourselves?

People have said that being old is really just a state of mind. No doubt I have heard this phrase many times but the reality of it struck me hard that day.

We limit the things we can do and accomplish with the excuse that we are too old to start. There is no written rule that says that if you want to learn the piano, you cannot do so at age 27. The rule that is stopping us is the unspoken rule society dictates upon us. At 27, society portrays a lady as busy with work and family. Any time spend dwelling in frivolous acts like learning the piano would be deemed as a waste of resources.

As for my colleague, being old to her takes on a slightly different definition. The difference is that being old is not stopping her from acting out her dreams. She may be 30, but she is thriving in her career, sufficiently religious and has an active social life. However, her sighing of being old was also done as a result of the demands put upon her by society. She may have things going on very well for her, but she is still very much single. And by 30, society deems single ladies as getting over the hill, which hides the fair maiden from the sights of any knight in shining armor. With technological breakthroughs in child bearing, being old does not prevent her from having children 5 years later. However, at 31, being old is due to the fact that she is not “there” at the usual place a woman ought to be, in the eyes of society.

So, if being old is just a state of mind, erasing the label would take a lot of convincing of many minds. Age may only a number but the significance is determined by the minds of society. And with that intrusion of significance, the walls of limitations start to build up around us. Limitations result in less benefits accrued unto society.
And so I end in this – society begets society; Garbage in garbage out. Imagine now what we could have achieved. If dreams were to come through, it does indeed start with the mind.

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