你也老了吗?- Have you grown old as well? – English

  
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In the past, people had relatively strict criteria to define who was old. I once heard someone from an older generation say there were four criteria defining old age: the first is lying awake in bed and falling asleep on your chair; the second is havinge no tears when you want to cry, but tears when you’re laughing; the third is not forgetting old things but forgetting new things; the fourth is 该硬不硬嘴巴硬。

If you were that old, surely, you would be past retirement age.

But recently, the criteria defining old age have become looser. In a widely broadcast program, the host was asking all over the internet for criteria to answer the question: “Have you become old?” – altogether, there were about fifty.

She was only thirty years old, but considered she was old, because she met most of the conditions, for instance:

People start calling me “Mister so and so”, “Mrs so and so” (well, people used to call me that ten years ago, now I’m happy if they don’t call me “auntie”).

At the KTV, there are dozens of recent pop songs that I cannot sing.

Before, I could spend two or three days without sleep and it wasn’t a problem, but now if I skip just one night I’m tired for three days.

I’m starting to pay attention to vitamin supplements, and considering whether I should take glucosamine pills.

Before, when I looked in the mirror, I worried about acne, now I look in the mirror and worry about fine lines.

I’ve begun to dread “all-you-can-eat” restaurants.

I think experts don’t know what they’re talking about.

I’m too lazy to make new friends, because I’m too lazy to go through all I did in my life.

I hear about friends getting divorced more often than friends getting married….

I’m just as miserable as the host: forty-five of the fifty criteria also apply to me. However, I also decided I would stop criticizing “the youth of today”, because if I don’t, that will just make me older, and force me into the ranks of the older generation.

Time flies, and after thirty years, our experience goes deep. One of the most common feelings in the workplace is: “How is it that I can still remember whn I was the new young thing here, as if it was yesterday, and now someone new just joined the company who’s probably ten years younger than me?”

Deep inside, we all know that, no matter how much science and modern technology progress, old age is inevitable. Even if our skin retained the brightness of the past, our hearts would still grow old. Our friend “evergreen” Shuluo said it well: no matter what, everyone knows how old I am, so rather than letting people call me old, I’d rather laugh at it myself.

If you laugh at yourself, you’re relatively protected from being hurt inside.

The more we can hope for is that maturity comes together with inevitable “old age”, and that we don’t become old and ignorant, old and destitute, old and unable to do anything, old and pedantic – then life would still be worth living.

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About julien.leyre

French-Australian writer, educator, sinophile. Any question? Contact julien@marcopoloproject.org