Ever since I was young, upon reading the first Alex Rider book: Stormbreaker, there has been a quote in it, that I think about often … You’re Never Too Young to Die.
As I approach my 30s, I don’t see myself as young any more, than I do consider myself old.
Isn’t it strange that the moment you hit a certain age, the term “young man” or “youth” fits you as well as water in your lungs?
What determines whether you are young any more?
Is it your age? Your experience? Your attitude? The way how older people treat you? Is it a generational thing?
Whatever it is, I know that I haven’t felt “young” since I decided to be a man at the age of 17. I didn’t understand the appeal of people wanting to be young forever. For me, life has always had its greatest appeal in your 30s.
30s is the peak of your physical age, mental state and confidence.
I couldn’t wait to be in my 30s. I wanted to own the self-made man image of Don Draper. I craved the arrogant coldness of James Bond. The cocky swagger of Dirk Pitt. The devastating wit of Oscar Wilde. The deductive genius of Sherlock Holmes.
All these desirable traits … stemming from men in their 30s. I couldn’t understand my compatriots. Nor, admittedly, did I want to. While they wanted to chase girls, I was keen to wine and dine confident women. While they fumbled for ID at entries into Casino, I could get away with a serious scowl and a nod at the bouncer.
So now, as I approach my own summit of the 30s, I’ve realised that I was metaphysically 30 a long time ago.
I chased and craved and cajoled for those enviable characteristics for so long, since I was 17 that I subconsciously made them my own. I’ve been 30 for a long time. There is no other way to describe my own arrogant confidence and plentiful self-esteem. Whilst my peers feared the idea of a job, a house, a car and stability, I was desperate to earn those the hard way, my way.
I wanted to be a man. I wanted to enter a room, confident and assured.
I truly faked it until I made it my own.
Which is why it rankles when people view me as a young man.
Like they have difficulty in seeing the child they once saw quietly playing in the corner, blossom into the taller man who stared them down intently, unafraid of their wrath and unwillingly to give them any respect lest they earned it through his ire.
If I had to define age, it would most likely boil down to a combination of attitude and experience. How your life’s experiences have shaped your attitude towards the world is the perfect way to determine your age.
If you’ve had a sheltered life, and you view people as friends and the world as a joyful place, chances are … you’re a bit too naive and that is the biggest indication of youth.
If you’ve had a rougher upbringing, viewing people as foes or tools and you categorically label the world as “indifferent” … odds are you’ve a lot older than you appear to be.
Cynicism isn’t perfectly related to old, but it’s linked.
And I’ve been cynical for a very long time. It made the world an easier concept to understand … if I saw everyone as devils, then it was a lot simpler to accept people’s failings.
The old adage of “keeping expectations low, so reality meets bare minimum” has kept me from riding roller-coasters of emotions.
All these things I’ve discovered by the age of 22. I’ve lived the last 6 years slowly being a bit more optimistic, but realistic. I’ve matured beyond that nihilistic, cynical and depressive way of thinking.
Which is why I consider myself at 28, too old to die young.
I could be struck down tomorrow and I would think to myself that I got enough to die without regrets. I can face death on my own terms not its’.
To die young is to experience the world that has not changed you in a single meaningful way. That is tragic. There is no justice in that. To be taken away before you truly grown up, is a tragedy. What person could they have been?
But to be struck down at an age where you know what consequences there are for your actions and you live despite them … then you are old.
Old enough to know better.
Old enough to make your own choices.
Old enough to live with your mistakes and learn from them.
For the longest time, I’ve always known that I’m old. Even my peers see me that way. There is an old-fashioned mindset about the way how I approach things.
You need not look further than this blog. Who keeps a blog nowadays? Who write their thoughts and feelings out for people to read like some Anne Frank Diary?
Why isn’t Damocles adapting to the times and creating a vlog? Starting some lame podcast? At the very least he should consider making an audiobook.
The answer is, I’m a bit of a romantic. It comes from reading too many damn books that fill my head with idealistic nonsense. I am writing a blog, because one of my favourite edgiest teenage superhero from a YA novel made one and it got thousand of followers. Ever since then, I have stuck to my guns and kept writing in an online journal of some sort.
I would also like to point out that if you have ever been obstinately stubborn about something, simply because you disagree with it … that makes you old.
A young person is rarely ever stubborn. They are far too malleable and easily manipulated. Only old people get intractable and drive up their stress levels simply because it is some bizarre sadomasochistic kink.
Young = Impressionable, Insecure & Insouciant.
Old = Stubborn, Self-Righteous & Steady.
So what made me think about all this? I hear you ask.
The recent family troubles naturally. I felt strange that people lumped me in the “young” category, simply because I am of a generation younger than them. Yet my actions, my attitude and my insight proved far more intelligent and rational than their childish squabbling and inaction.
They labelled me hot-headed, emotional and rebellious. I saw nothing of the sort in my actions. Every action has been measured, calculated and stubbornly recalcitrant. Everything I’ve done, is not something a young person would do.
Hence I find it insulting that the older generation continue to treat me as a “young” person, an annoying fly that needs to be swatted away.
I punished such arrogance accordingly. Age has nothing to do with being young, and I made sure that the older generation saw me as something more than some symbolic figurehead for youth. I became an adult just like them, demanded their respect accordingly and suddenly, they realised that my respect had to be earned, not just given due to age.
I have always scorned the Asiatic attitude when it came to respect. I see no reason to be polite, respectful or subservient to anyone who have lived beyond 40. My outlook has always been to be a mirror to what I am receiving.
Be an arsehole to me and you best believe I’m going to be an even bigger arsehole to you.
Work hard and invest in me and I’ll give you my all.
That to me, has always been the appeal behind adulthood. The playing field is level and it doesn’t matter what background, experience or age you are.
Be a good person and receive goodness. Be an dick and suffer the consequences.
Fair. Just. Equilibrium.
I truly am too old to die young and for a long time, this guiding statement has stuck with me ever since reading it in a book.
You are never too young to die, but you can be too old to die young, because you’ve matured beyond youth.
That is a good thing.
It means that you’ve haven’t wasted your life.
Embracing the feeling that you are too old to die young. It means that you’ve living life right and you’ve got nothing to fear.
You’ve beaten death in a way by becoming too old.
Isn’t that refreshing?