Today I am beginning an A-Z challenge (which I really should have started several days ago). My dear friend and inspiration, Pam, was doing an A-Z challenge but had to put it off due to unforeseen circumstances. So, for the next 26 days I will try my hardest to discipline myself and entertain you with topics ranging the alphabet and my not-so-humble opinions.
A is for Age.
Age is topic that has come up a lot lately. At work we have been guessing each others’ ages and either been satisfied or shocked. I have both shocked and satisfied people. That doesn’t surprise me. I tend to adjust to my surroundings, as many people do, and act accordingly. That does not mean I change my personality or who I am, it just means that different groups may see me differently. I don’t think that is very uncommon. But, that has led one person to think I was about 6 years older than my true age and another person to think I was about 2 years younger than my true age. While this might bother some people, it doesn’t bother me at all. I’ve been called an old soul, mature for my age, and I’ve always looked a little older than I am until recently when I think my age has caught up to my appearance. And I’ve always felt old. I blame that on experiences, health, and overall personality. After all, my mom always said she married a 27-year-old going on 40 and I am known to have my dad’s personality. It’s always nice to be able to blame your parents.
In today’s society it is so hard to pinpoint somebody’s age. With so many age defying products and treatments, what is 50 supposed to look like? I never understood the need to be younger than you are. What is wrong with aging the way nature intended? I think a healthy dose of wrinkles can be beautiful. The only reason we learned to despise signs of aging is because society tells us we should. Nature doesn’t. I don’t think I’ll ever understand. We say somebody who is 50 but looks 40 looks “good,” but why is that good? Shouldn’t we say that person looks deceptive?
And, of course, we can’t forget my favorite topic of pets. Age is not exclusive to humans. In fact, we could say that pets are more susceptible to age than humans are. My family has always rescued our dogs, never gotten from breeders, so there has always been the chance that we wouldn’t know their exact ages. The Golden Retriever we adopted when I was in kindergarten was supposedly 3 years old at the time, but when she pass away the veterinarian told us she was probably more like 13 years old (which means she would have been 5 at the time of adoption). Lying about an animal’s age in order to get him/her adopted is not uncommon. People want to adopt younger animals to have more time with them, not worry about health issues, and simply get more out of them. It’s a sad story and has caused shelters and rescues all over to skimp on animals’ ages by a few years for the sake of the animals. Cutting off a few years here and there is OK in my book because it gets that dog or cat a home and in the long run doesn’t make too much of a difference. But then you have my friends’ story…
My two friends are roommates and decided one would adopt a cat. This was several years ago now and they both fell in love with Patches. I love Patches, too. She is cuddly and friendly and gorgeous. The rescue told my friends’ she was about 2 or 3 years old. The veterinarian told my friends that Patches was probably older, but never told my friends an estimate. She has had several health issues over the years and when my friends adopted a second cat as her “buddy,” she immediately had physical problems due to the stress of the added cat (who was far too active and playful for her). Well, as it turns out, she probably saw this new cat as an annoying little brat. Recently Patches was at the emergency vet who said that Patches is probably about 10 years old.
Lying about the cat’s age to get her adopted is one thing. Shaving a good 5-6 years off of her age is wrong. A prospective pet owner goes into the adoption process with certain expectations including activity level, medical costs, and life expectancy (years to have with the pet). Patches being so much older than expected has thrown everything off-balance. Everyone involved is lucky that so many people love Patches so much. She is a great cat.
So, while I tend to say that age is just a number, is it really? It is a number, but what does that number mean?