Wednesday, May 20, 2009

~it's just a number~

A photo I took last summer of a most beautiful butterfly. He hung around for 3 days; then moved on.

I love this quote...

Grown-ups love figures. When you tell them that you have made a new friend, they never ask you any questions about essential matters. They never say to you, "What does his voice sound like? What games does he love best? Does he collect butterflies?" Instead, they demand: "How old is he? How many brothers has he? How much does he weigh? How much money does his father make?" Only from these figures do they think they have learned anything about him. ~Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince, 1943, translated from French

One of the things I noticed when I moved back to the U.S. after living in Europe for 10 years, that Americans are much more hung-up on age than Europeans. One of the first things people ask you when you strike up a conversations is 'how old are you'? I cannot recall a European ever asking me my age.

If it were up to me, I would not even know my birthday! I'm serious. It's not that I care for other people knowing my age - I just refuse to allow it to define what I like, who I am friends with, what I wear, how I wear my hair, or what I do.

For certain, life is too short to give anyone power over our choices!


Minka said...

In Europe, many people consider the "age question" impolite. I wouldn't ask that either. We do ask that sometimes among the people we know well. Like among my colleagues - We somewhat know each other's age, but you know the feeling when you try to remember something you know? Like on somebody's birthday and you feel you should know that, just to "refresh your memory" you ask: Now how young are you? 36? Oh, you vegetable, you!

Not think about it at all? I'm not sure. I still like birthdays. Time to look back and forth. Time to celebrate and an excuse to meet those you love but spend too little time with. For my 40th birthday I invited around 60 relatives I rarely see. We had a party. Many of them thought I would announce I'd get married or something (I invited my sweetheart's relatives as well). Nope! sorry. We're fine.

Gee - what a long comment. At least you can see it's mine. Sorry about that mix up before.

Tikimama said...

What a gorgeous butterfly! You are so lucky to have had him as a visitor, and you got a lovely photo.

I love that quote from Saint-Exupery. As I get older, my attitude towards age has been changing, too. I don't define myself so much by the number, and I find that I enjoy being friends with people of all different ages.

Minka said...

Now that I read that again, I'm not sure that "vegetable" thing sounds right in English... meaning something green and therefore very very young? Hmmm... maybe not?

And yes, you can be younger at sixty than someone else (or even yourself) at twenty. Some people are like that.

Martha said...

I always consider that you're only as old as you feel -- some days I'm a teenager and others (like after a hard day in the garden), I'm old and achy!

I was taught that you never asked age -- of anyone and especially not a lady!

Slices of Beauty... said...

You are so right, it's just a number.
Luv that cutie butterfly!

Silver said...

i love your thoughts..

i always tell them about the cheese and wine quote when anyone ask me on my age! Or sometimes i smile and say, "You first."

from One Day at a Time

Linda at Lime in the Coconut! said...

Great food for thought! Half the time I don't even remember how old I am!

down and out chic said...

beautiful photo, and life is too short to have someone else dictate our path (i'm still learning this lesson).

Deborah said...

Hello! Happy to make your acquaintance! I followed the link over from Linda and am ever so happy I did. I like this post on age. I don't mind telling my age at all; my weight-now that's top secret. Perhaps you might enjoy the poem I wrote about turning 56 this year **blows kisses** Deborah

Claire said...

For the past couple of birthdays, a friend of mine would always write in her birthday card to me, "You're another year older" or "I can't believe we're so old"...while I appreciate the thought, I got a little annoyed at how birthdays are always tied to "getting old" as if it were a curse. I see birthdays as gifts. They're blessings that we must always be thankful for!

The Cottage Cheese said...

Oh, your photograph of the butterfly is so beautiful! Although these sayings are a bit trite, I still like them: "Age is a state of mind" and even better "40 is the new 30". I know youthful 70 year olds that are probably more fit (both mentally and perhaps even physically) than me!

akka b. said...

Tiger swallowtail butterfly ~ one of these angels came to visit me recently too.

I didn't ask his age though...just watched how he collected his nectar.


Anonymous said...

im 52.. and 'you' ? lol, just kidding!

(i remember that butterfly..) >:D<