Post from February 4, 2015 (↻ June 8, 2021), filed under Everything Else.
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).
I’m Jens Oliver Meiert, and I’m an engineering manager and author. I’ve worked as a technical lead for Google, I’m close to the W3C and the WHATWG, and I write and review books for O’Reilly. Other than that, I love trying things, sometimes including philosophy, art, and adventure. Here on meiert.com I share some of my views and experiences.
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Perhaps my most comprehensive book: The Web Development Glossary (2020). With explanations and definitions for literally thousands of terms from Web Development and related fields, building on Wikipedia as well as the MDN Web Docs. Available at Apple Books, Kobo, Google Play Books, and Leanpub.