Who Says You Have to Act Your Age?

Good morning, and happy Halloween! I hope your day is off to a great start.

Today is a special day for kids around the world. Okay, not just kids, but those of us who still miss the innocence of youth. The traditions are different in various parts of the world, but here in the United States, kids will dress up as their favorite super-hero, princess, villain, or spook, and go around door-to-door with a bag for us old folks to fill up with candy. Why can’t we do that for cash?

Every year, there seems to be a debate over when a kid is “too old” for Halloween. Along with every group of young children dressed up in their favorite costume, there will be one or two teenagers dressed in the clothes they wore to school, holding out a bag without saying a word. And you know what? They get candy, too. If it makes them happy and keeps them out of trouble, why not?

If you can’t enjoy the fact that they’re trying to hang onto their youth just a little longer, look at it from another perspective. The conversation goes something like this:

“Trick or Treat.”

“Aren’t you a little old for this? You’re not even wearing a costume.”

“Yes I am.”

“What are you supposed to be?”

“A juvenile delinquent. Nice place you’ve got here. Is that your car?”

Is that the conversation you want to be thinking about right before you fall asleep? I find it a lot more relaxing (and reassuring) to just enjoy the evening and everybody who comes by. Besides, you never know when one of those teenagers may be the one that comes by a month from now and offers to shovel the snow off your sidewalks.

About a month ago, before I had injections in my lower back, I had to use a cane to get around. Not for stability, but to bear weight. One day after work, as I was getting out of the car with the cane in one hand and my lunchbox and laptop in the other, a teenage boy walking down the other side of the street asked if I needed any help. This from what some people like to refer to as the “me” generation.

But that’s a story for another day. My point today is that it’s easy to look at other people and decide for ourselves whether they’re too young or too old for whatever they’re doing. Okay, too young may be more a matter of practicality than opinion. My youngest grandson would love to drive my car, but it’s safe to say he won’t be doing that any time soon.

But on the other end of the spectrum, we have people who are too old for whatever we deem fit. “Why don’t you act your age?” How many times have you heard that one? How many times have you said it? Whether it’s playing silly games as a third-grader, trick-or-treating as a teenager, or getting your ears pierced at the age of 50, people love to impose their own standards of what’s appropriate at a given age.

So, here’s the question – who decides what’s appropriate and at what age? Is there a book somewhere that I haven’t read? Was it part of the birds and bees talk that my dad conveniently skipped? Did they teach it in church when I was out of town? Seems it would help if they’d at least publish it in the newspaper once a year.

The reality is, you’re never too old for anything you can still enjoy. Period. And the moment you buy into the thinking that you’re too old, you immediately begin aging at a much faster rate. And we all know what’s on the other end of aging. So, why are we in such a hurry to speed it up? Worse yet, why are we so adamant about imposing monotony on people who are still trying to enjoy life?

There’s a time to act our age, to be certain. At work, they appreciate my sense of humor as long as I can mix it with the appropriate amount of professionalism and still get the job done. My bank appreciates deposits in excess of my withdrawals. And the mortgage company appreciates a payment each month, even if there are a lot more fun things to do with that money.

But beyond that, what’s wrong with having a little fun along the way? As adults, most of us like to get away from the kids, meet some friends, and enjoy an evening of music and laughter (and maybe even a few “adult” beverages). We went to an Elton John concert several years ago, and let me tell you, old people still know how to rock! The look on the younger people’s faces was priceless.

Don’t be so quick to teach younger people that it’s not okay to act young. Let them enjoy it a few years longer. Adulthood is coming fast enough. This is their time. Help them make the most of it.

That’s all for now. Have an awesome day!

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved