On Age

Published on February 4, 2015 (↻ February 5, 2024), filed under (RSS feed for all categories).

Age is wonderful. Aging is wonderful.

Age is wonderful for in a life reasonably lived, in a life not exclusively spent idly or hedonistically, age signifies the accumulation of experience and knowledge, and perhaps even wisdom.

The fears that people have about age are unfounded: It is not at all given, it is not at all said that one gets sick or senile. The great danger with these beliefs, rather, is for them to become self-fulfilling prophecies. Our beliefs about age, as about any matter, are important.

The fears that people have about age make matters even worse: They push the elderly, our elders, into a corner, a corner we then lock up and don’t want anything to do with. Of course, this adds fuel to our fears: We don’t want to be in that corner ourselves.

What we need is a new thinking about age that goes beyond medicine as curing more ailments, ailments we ourselves may have talked ourselves into. What we need is recognize that one can be healthy at an old age, too. And we need to value and cherish the accomplishments and the wisdom of our elders. All which will build up new positive thrust, for the better we treat our elders, the better we’ll again fare ourselves.

[…] there is no reason to pity old people. Instead, young people should envy them. It is true that the old have no opportunities, no possibilities in the future. But they have more than that. Instead of possibilities in the future, they have realities in the past—the potentialities they have actualized, the meanings they have fulfilled, the values they have realized—and nothing and nobody can ever remove these assets from the past.

—Viktor Frankl: Man’s Search for Meaning (1946).

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About Me

Jens Oliver Meiert, on September 30, 2021.

I’m Jens (long: Jens Oliver Meiert), and I’m a frontend engineering leader and tech author/publisher. I’ve worked as a technical lead for companies like Google and as an engineering manager for companies like Miro, I’m close to W3C and WHATWG, and I write and review books for O’Reilly and Frontend Dogma.

I love trying things, not only in web development (and engineering management), but also in other areas like philosophy. Here on meiert.com I share some of my views and experiences.

If you want to do me a favor, interpret charitably (I speak three languages, and they can collide), yet be critical and give feedback for me to learn and improve. Thank you!