• Patrine Frey

Society & How It Defines Aging


When you are old and grey and full of sleep, And nodding by the fire, take down this book, And slowly read, and dream of the soft look Your eyes had once, and of their shadows deep; How many loved your moments of glad grace, And loved your beauty with love false or true, But one man loved the pilgrim soul in you, And loved the sorrows of your changing face; And bending down beside the glowing bars, Murmur, a little sadly, how Love fled And paced upon the mountains overhead And hid his face amid a crowd of stars.

This poem is written by the masterful William Butler Yeats and is all about the journey of aging.


It is interesting as we traverse life, we mark our years mentally with the reflections we see returned to us and we formally do this with birthdays. There is in life, milestones that are marked by birthdays. The birthdays come and go, and time marches on, we begin to wonder if these milestones defined who we are?

Once we have passed the age of 50, we find ourselves sometimes musing that age is just a number. It is true, is age just a number?

The judge & jury in our lives today is society and how it views our existence. Society uses the lens of social media today to gauge, the good, the bad, what is exciting, what is relevant, what is engaging, and what is worthy in the world at that moment.

Social media’s fuel is the endless attention of society, which it thirsts for with the total absorption of time and time is the ticking clock of age.

The commerce of society pays social media to target the masses with ads of products that are tailored to our wants. These glossy artful depictions of everything we could and should have been showcased by ageless nymphets. These humans with no tell-tale sign of age, just flawlessly and eternally happy, and dance across our screens. The ache of wants and desires rise, if we purchase these products or services will our lives be perfect, will we have serenity, will society judge us to be worthy.

The female species of our humans’ race are sold a bill of goods that time is the enemy. They are encouraged to hide the hints of age, with camouflaging veils of deception, beautifying magic potions, and artful altering medical works. Women begin to take the battle against every crease, every wrinkle that finds it is way on to the face, that is reflected in the glass, simply because it is proof of an aging life. Which oddly happens every moment we are alive. The laugher lines around the eyes, the sagging of the skin around the chin, it finds no celebration in society, but rather a dismissal of any relevance to what is worthy in society and is judged as the passing of the prime of life.

Is it only the humans of a certain age that can discover innovation in technology or science? Is it because we prefer the sparkle of youth in the eyes of a certain age to deliver the promise of a new future?

When we are listening and watching a great orator of wisdom are, we more captivated knowing that the individual is older, wiser, and truly more experienced?

We are scolded about our mental health, told how to keep stress at bay, and find balance in day to day living. If we do, we will live a longer, happier, more vibrate life. If we exercise, if eat right, if practice all that the experts of society preach to us our aging life will be perfect. We told our mental health is just as important as our physical health. We are told to keep the brain active and young. When we put all this wonderful amazing advice into practice and we reach the milestone of 65, the societal comments now with caveats about mental deterioration, illness, physical abilities, and life’s aging strife.

The magic career window of the age between 30 to 45, has an opening just so wide. Society tells you to make your mark in that timeframe or that window firmly closes. If you have not started your startup, climbed that corporate ladder produced that work of art of mention, published your peer-reviewed paper, broken that glass ceiling, in that window of time, society has judged you and you missed your real opportunity.

These are all artificial date stamps we, society have created. For what purpose? To create a utopian society, where everything is perfect? I think not, it is to make us want, to desire the artifice.

Our history on this planet, our society is about the passing of time. We measure everything by time, each day we live we grow older. It is just how our life on this planet called earth, works. No matter what age we are in time, it should be how we spend our time, those moments, the days, the weeks, those years that should define us. We should commit to our own aging and define our life on what we have achieved at that moment in time.

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