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Think outside the age box

From the April 2005 issue of The Christian Science Journal

Last summer I decided to quit thinking that I was too old to start riding a bicycle again. So I jumped into my red convertible, drove down to the bicycle shop, and bought myself a two-wheeler. Cotton candy pink. I was a bit wobbly at first, but soon got the hang of it. I felt so free! Not just because of the ride, but because I'd broken out of my "age box."

Like most people, I have sometimes unthinkingly put an age label on myself and others. Society tends to lump people into groups based on that little box they check on their census forms, with opinions attached. Youngsters are delightful—except when they're being demanding and stubborn. Teens are fun, too—except when they're way too "out there." Seniors can be kinder, gentler, and wiser—except when they're tradition-bound, opinionated, and grumpy. No matter how you look at it, buying into the "age box" mentality is limiting.

So why are we all so quick to associate certain characteristics with certain ages? It seems to me the premise behind that kind of thinking is that one's identity is tied to a material body inhabiting a planet that makes another revolution around the sun each year. But what if you disassociate your identity from that physical form? What if you view yourself from a completely different perspective?