By Graham "GSM" Matthews
"Age is just a number." How many times have you heard that cliché? It's because it's true.
Earlier this month, I turned 20-years-old. There were several people years ago that when I told them my birthday was coming up, they thought I was turning 20 because they thought I was wise for my age. In actuality, I was turning 17! Of course, I took it as a compliment, but thinking about that recently got me thinking: at what age do people feel the most comfortable? If you're confused by that, allow me to explain.
In that scenario I just described, adolescents (i.e. teenagers) like to be told they're older than they really are. However, as you get older, you want to be told you look younger than you are, so where's the cut-off? Early/mid-20s maybe? That seems to be the prime age everyone wants to be at. Kids and teenagers want to age quickly so they can be allowed to do stuff. Adults dread the age they're at because they think they're "one step closer to death" (I hate to sound morbid, but that's simply the way some people think, sadly). Well, what if I told you that any age is a great age?
In turning 20 this year, I was happy to have celebrated the milestone birthday. Turning 19, while a fun birthday, felt anticlimactic because it was sandwiched between two numbers that mean more, but truth be told, I didn't do anything outrageous for my 20th birthday outside of doing the usual: having a few family parties, going out to dinner and attending a wrestling event (an annual tradition of mine since 2013). That said, a more than a few people said to me, "Turning 20 is nothing, just wait another year so you can legally drink!"
Of course, anyone who knows me well would know that I scoffed at that statement because, well, I'm straightedge. I don't drink (nor do I want to), so turning 21 essentially means nothing to me. That's not to say I don't want to turn 21 or I'll be "miserable" next year when I get to that age, but it doesn't hold that same significance for me as it does for so many others. Entering your 20s is one way of officially becoming an adult, though I started considering myself an "adult" when I turned 18 in 2013, but it's still cool to know that I'm no longer a teenager.
The point I'm trying to make is that from what I gather from observing natural human behavior and picking up on what people say, it's typically believed that birthdays start to mean a lot less once you surpass a certain age. Honestly, that's one of the most ridiculous things I've ever heard, and I truly feel sorry for anyone who feels next to nothing when they have a birthday. It's a day that should be celebrated! Not looked at as an excuse to cheat your diet or "one step closer to death" as I mentioned earlier.
Maybe I'm just naive in being a youngster and maybe I'll change my ways as I get older, but the way I see it right now, getting older is fascinating. Do I want to be 30, 40, 50-years-old right now? Absolutely not, and I don't think there's anyone out there who would tell you they would. Granted, as time passes, you'll lose your teeth and hair and you'll develop some wrinkles here and there (I swear that wasn't meant to rhyme), but you'll also being infinitely more knowledgeable than you are now.
Unless you're a some sort of alien, you'll never get "dumber" as you age, only smarter. Ever heard the old expression that you learn something new everyday? Well, you do, and even if it's just one thing, it's one thing you didn't know yesterday. You might forget that one day after a while because your brain can only hold so much storage, but you'll be surprised where information that you or others might perceive to be useless comes in handy. Remember this: a piece of information is only unless until it becomes applicable.
Not only are you gaining more knowledge, but you're gaining more experience as well. Regardless of how old you are right now, look at everything you've seen, heard and done in your life up to this point. It's crazy, isn't it? On my 20th birthday, I had to step back for a second and say to myself that I've been on this planet for two decades, and in those two decades, I have experienced an extraordinary amount of things. Some of you reading this could be even older, and you have more years to your credit. Forget the fact you've been able to survive this long (I kid, I kid); you've experienced things that no one can say they have!
I think the movie "13 Going on 30" sums up my next point perfectly: don't ever wish you could skip ahead a few years in your time, or a few months for that matter. Don't wish you could miss a second of your lifetime because there's always happening and you won't want to miss anything, trust me. More "memorable" things happen at certain ages than others, that's true to some extent, but even the "transitional" ages have something to offer. Skipping ahead in your life is pressing fast forward on a movie you don't like: you may not want to live through "right now," but in doing so, you'll learn to live with it. Plus, you won't want to miss that one amazing moment you've waited your whole life for. Anything can happen at any time!
The next birthday you celebrate, do just that: celebrate it. Don't complain about being too "old" or too "young" because there will come a time when you wish you were that age again, and no one likes to regret! Appreciate everything you have right here and now, live in the moment. Reflect back on the amazing amount of time you've already spent this enchanting place we call earth, enjoy everything occurring right now, and look forward to everything else that is to come. But hey, what do I know? I'm only 20.