People often say that "age is just a number" based on their experiences and observations of others. There are elderly people in almost perfect health and good overall physical condition, leading an active lifestyle, and young people who are barely living zombies.

We all can find extreme examples in our families or nearest surroundings, like a young cousin with obesity, terrible posture who is constantly exhausted and apart from being good at Fortnite, struggles to perform even basic real-life activities, and a 50-year-old uncle who runs marathons and is bursting with energy despite working a tough full-time job.

But this example confuses two things: time and energy - we can manage our bodies better to look and feel a certain way, but our bodies count time and get old, getting closer to death every second, no matter how great we feel.

When I was a teenager, I did most of the unhealthy things a teenager can do, including smoking and eating junk food daily, overusing alcohol, or neglecting sleep at the expense of gaming or partying. But then, at the age of 21, something changed with me and I became obsessive about my health and lifestyle.

Today I'm not so obsessed anymore, but I still lead a very healthy lifestyle and at almost 30, I feel better than when I was a teenager.

Nevertheless, my feelings have nothing to do with the harsh reality of my age - I'm getting older and while 30 is still a relatively young age, it's also the age when we can notice the first clear signs of aging. And it happened to me recently.

Long story short I was at the hairdresser and noticed that one-third of the cut hair was grey. I looked at the hair sitting on my chest and finally grabbed it and asked the barber if it was real. And she laughed, saying she noticed that but didn't want to bother me with the information. Also, she asked about my age, and when I answered she said: "Oh, okay, that explains a lot... it's normal at that age."

Our Body Counts Time No Matter How We Feel

It's normal to have gray hair with age, yet it knocked me out of my delusions. See, I felt as if my biological clock had stopped somewhere at 23 years old, but it's not true - the body counts time, breath after breath, cell division after cell division. In this sense, life is brutal as Robert Frost once summarized:

“In three words I can sum up everything I've learned about life: it goes on.”

"It goes on," and there's nothing we can do to stop it, no matter how hard we try, which is kind of depressing at first glance - we're constantly changing and getting older, whether we like it or not. And we ultimately going to die.

In this way, age is not just a number, but a biological representation of how long our body has been functioning, which to some extent indicates its condition. And there are some key moments where it represents a lot, e.g., the study says:

It is well established that the brain undergoes a “rewiring” process that is not complete until approximately 25 years of age.

Also, it's not only about development, but about slowing down, e.g., aging does impair liver regeneration, which affects us in many ways, but is most famous for slowing down detoxification - waking up after a party at 30, 40, 50 is not as great as it was in our 20s. And we can feel it clearly – painfully.

From a biological point of view, we cannot say that age is just a number - our lifestyle can slow down this process a bit and we may feel better, but ultimately aging is inevitable.

But Socially Age is Almost Irrelevant Number

Biologically aging is simply a disaster rushing towards the inevitable - death. Life is quite brutal in this sense. But since social life is just a fascinating part of life based on the system of symbols we've created, age almost doesn't matter. F. Scott Fitzgerald put it beautifully:

“For what it’s worth... it’s never too late, or in my case too early, to be whoever you want to be. There’s no time limit. Start whenever you want. You can change or stay the same."

Countless people regret not starting what they love earlier in life because of the limiting belief that they were too young to do it - and now they regret that they are too old to start. The cemetery is full of unfulfilled ideas and stories.

I'm far from writing that despite our age we can master everything and reach a professional level because some fields are brutal for people who didn't start from an early age. But beyond that, we can start doing anything and get pretty good at it at any age - and have fun learning the skill.

Society imposes many limiting beliefs on people, starting with systemic education and its social and cultural keys, which escalate into a rat race. This gives people a false sense that life has a sequence - at a certain age we are in primary school, and then at a certain age we should go to high school or college. Then there is the age at which we should graduate and start working. And at a certain age we should have a certain amount of professional experience - and so on.

This causes people great anxiety, indicating that they may be missing out on something in life. But the whole race is nothing more than a systemic way to introduce young people to social life and, above all, prevent anarchy. Ultimately, there are no time limits for starting anything and fortunately, there are people who break free from social and cultural keys and show others that life can be different.

Spiritually Time and Age Don't Matter at All

There is a wonderful saying by Confucius from the book The Analects which collected his sayings shortly after his death:

“If a man in the morning hear the right way, he may die in the evening without regret.”

Once we understand who we are and that all we have is the present moment, the eternal "here and now" then indeed we can wake up in the morning, play a little, get exhausted, and die - let go of all our control and back to sleep, in the evening with contentment and no regrets.

After all, there's nothing to lose, nothing to get - it's just a play that many people get too involved in and forget that they're just playing. Maybe even it's a true art to voluntarily deceive ourselves to experience all the drama of life. But ultimately, whether it's a comedy, a thriller, or even a tragedy, it's just a play - a great play that keeps us on our toes until the very end.

Therefore, there are no limits to life - all we have is this one precious day we can use however we want as long as we live consciously, not compulsively. Of course, this doesn't mean that we can have everything we want at the snap of our fingers, but we can set any direction, and do what we can do, where we are, regardless of our age, ethnicity, gender, or other nonsense.

If you enjoy reading such stories, consider subscribing or supporting us in other ways, e.g., by checking out our book recommendations. We're 100% reader-supported - writing and research take time and your support makes it all possible.
Share this post