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emilia asked in Arts & HumanitiesPhilosophy · 1 decade ago

A question about birthdays, age, life, experience, wisdom, and art?

This is a pretty general somewhat-question I've been thinking about lately. How would you link all or some of the words to each other, if you see a connection between them?

Feel free to get to the point or ramble on, I promise not to bite or thumb-down. Just to think about (Don't feel like you have to answer all of these questions. The most important thing is the connection, these are just food for thought) . . .

Do you celebrate birthdays as milestones in your life? Were your 13th, 16th, 18th, 21st, 40th, etc. birthdays significant to you at the time? Do you still feel that way about them afterward? Do you measure your life by how many birthdays have gone by? Do you equate the number of years you've lived with the experience you've gained? How about with wisdom? Do you make assumptions about others based on their age?

Finally, where does art of any kind come into the picture, if it does?

It looks kind of vague to me, but I was just wondering what your thoughts were.


I didn't have a specific question about art, I was just wondering if anyone thought it would fit somewhere in the picture.

Update 2:

Can I say that reader took my answer too? No? Well then . . .

The only birthday I've considered important at the time was my 13th for no reason other than that I liked that number and everyone around me was excited for theirs. When I turned 18 in January it felt odd because nothing came along with it; no sudden intelligence, no freedom, no independence, no brilliant insight. I knew there wouldn't be anything dramatic, but I hoped I would be proved wrong. I haven't celebrated my birthday since middle school since it really is only important to me as a kind of bookmark, and silly me likes to keep track of things since I have a bad sense of time.

Update 3:

I measure my life in two ways. First, in terms of school and this is probably most important: there are two 'new years,' one in September, the other in January, and they're both fresh starts. Before January, time moves slowly and life is quiet. After it, time advances in chunks and life is speeding by. I think my thinking's changed a lot (in a good way) since I started college, so that is a significant day. I also measure life as "before" and "after" the move we made in 04. It lasted two years and it had a really profound affect on my perspective, and I think it helped shape the way I act for the better. So I can see myself as two different people, the "before-" and "after-arbsq." Okay, so no, not birthdays.

Update 4:

As for experience and wisdom, I don't think I have enough of the first to answer that. And since I see wisdom as a result of experience, I'm not qualified to answer regarding that one either. I'm not putting myself down here, don't worry. I honestly have no experience being independent. I still live at home, I don't own a car, I don't have a job, and my biggest responsibility is school/education. Which means that I have to excel at that to make up for everything else, and like you said, Vet, it doesn't necessarily. *sigh*

Update 5:

I loved what everyone had to say about art! They weren't what I was thinking at the time I asked, but they are perfect answers, much better than mine ♥ I've always associated art of all kinds with the expression of emotion. And I can't separate emotion from thinking. Which means that art becomes kind of a manifestation of thoughts and their influence on emotions, and vice versa. It also gives life to the thought/emotion that cannot be expressed adequately with words. When I was thinking about the question of art in relation to life, I was thinking along the lines of a person -creating- art. The art becomes a chronicle of life; each work is an expression of thought/feeling at a certain point, with a certain wisdom and experience, at a certain age. Of course, looking at them years later may not elicit the same reactions it took to create the art, but it might, and it might also give some meaning to another.

Update 6:

reader, I love what you said about other people's art making you feel what you felt when you were younger. "The art I love is the thing that links this me to that me and I would be nowhere without it." Some books do that for me too, and pictures my friend drew for me before we came back. For some reason, the day after we moved back to the US in 06, there was this smell (I know it's not art, but it's kinda related) in my nose. Not in the air, no one else could smell it. And every few months since then, I smell it again and it lingers for at least a week. I would never be able to describe it to anyone, but if I would I'd paint it in different shades of brown on a canvas. It doesn't bring back good memories either; it brings back the stifling panic, confinement, and helplessness I felt at fourteen. I hate that smell and love it at the same time.

Update 7:

And on a different note, but since I mentioned birthdays; Dixie and Aß іηito joined Y!A ten days before I turned eighteen; reader, 12 days; xcando, 3 days before my sister's birthday; Plato, the day before my other sister's; Quintera, right smack between my (other) other sister's and my mom's; and Vet, on my cousin's (who is the same age as one of my sisters). What a coincidence :)

This will probably be the longest question in the history of long questions. If I could only pick more than one best! Really, you all deserve it, thank you all so much for answering. You have my never-ending gratitude.

11 Answers

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago
    Best answer

    Well, I guess my big birthday was 16. It represented freedom to me in the typical way, but it wasn't a huge deal. Suddenly I had a job and a car - those were the big changes. Oddly enough, I'd like to be able to do without both those things now. So it goes.

    Age does matter to me. I will judge a younger person differently than an older one. It's not necessarily negative, and doesn't negate the opinions of either, but there is a certain scope you achieve when you don't live with your parents anymore, buy your first car, spend your first holiday alone, etc. Suddenly a whole bunch of stuff that used to irritate you make a good amount of sense. Teens have valid opinions, but they don't weigh heavily in comparison. And it's certainly not just in the one direction either, I have a similar opinion of people above a certain age. They grew up in a different world (hell, I grew up in a different world) and, in my opinion, a lot of them are out of touch with what matters to younger generations. Age matters, but not necessarily negatively or positively. It just matters, it affects a lot. Nothing will change that, and nothing could. Perhaps the most naive thing I hear young people say is that age doesn't matter. Age and experience matter a lot. Experience being the key, in my opinion, experience outweighs education. If you need proof of that, look no farther than the military. A 23 year old Sergeant with two combat tours will be a much more effective combat leader than a 23 year old Lieutenant with a four year degree in military history.

    We evolve as we age. I'm not sure what it is, but it is noticeable while being virtually unnoticeable while we're evolving. I guess, the best example I can think of is this: 25 year old "Vet" would not have had his spinal vertebrates fractured the way 22 year old "Vet" did. It's not because I care less now, or even because I'm less gung-ho, it's just because I'm a bit more cautious. One of best pieces I've written during the past two years starts with the line, "I was invincible." The crazy part of that is that in retrospect it seems like I honestly thought that. Even crazier, all scarred up with a bum knee and fractured back I still sort of think it, but now I'm aware that I'm vulnerable. Figure that out.

    (A dream of mine is that one day I'll be _wise_ enough to make sense of all the paradoxes that I view the world in. How amazing would that be?)

    Wisdom, I think that's something that comes with age (experience actually, but I like the original phrase), however I don't believe it's a quality you ever really see in yourself. I think it's something you attribute to other people, but not to yourself. We know, at least I know myself too well to ever assume wisdom as the cause for any of my opinions or actions.

    Before Nietzsche went bonkers his philosophy centered around the idea that man's life was a work of art. There are a lot different directions we can take that simple idea, one being how much the world has changed that we no longer attribute much to art, but more importantly we can follow the idea into what place art holds in our lives, if not in our culture anymore. Virgil, Dante, etc often alluded to the idea that The Poet was the highest station in life. Nothing was more important than that. I sort of like that idea, but not in the elitist way it may first come off. When you combine that concept with Nietzsche's you get a pretty powerful idea: As the artists of our own lives, we are achieving our highest possible potential.

    Art, more than any other venture of man, harnesses our relationship to the world around us. It's our response to nature, and all the things that we're part of. That significance, sadly, is being overlooked more and more often, but it's still there. I've never met a person who couldn't have their breath taken away by nature, or a representation of nature. We respond to that beauty, we strive for that connection with the things around us. Where age, or experience fall into this, in my opinion, is that the older we get, the more open we are to find this relationship with things around us. I don't have much scope yet on areas like this, but I have a little. And I can remember being 13 and thinking paintings were generally dumb, but comic books were pretty cool. And at 19 I thought realistic art was impressive, but modern art was gibberish. Now, I can spend hours staring at virtually any piece in the Dallas Museum of Art and just take notes and be blown away. Most of it strikes me now, and even if it doesn't I can usually open my eyes and brain a little more and find some way to attach to it.

    I guess what I'm saying is that as we age our world becomes bigger, and as our world becomes bigger we become a little more perceptive, and as we become a little more perceptive we start to figure some things out.

    You know what I mean?

    Good Question.

    Source(s): Reader took my original answer. :)
  • 1 decade ago

    Yes--some birthdays were more significant than others. 10, 13, 16, 18, and 20 have been the biggest so far, but I'm turning 21 in April, and I have a feeling that will be the biggest yet.

    As for how wise I consider myself to be--I wouldn't say that 'age' really makes that big a difference. I wasn't suddenly wiser the day after I turned 20. I do think time has something to do with it though (obviously)--the more I touch, the more I learn. The more I read, the specific teachers I have... Everything I experience--that has more an impact than my age, though the longer I live the more I learn.

    And now my answer is becoming horribly disorganized. : )

    And yes, I do assume that my 14 year old cousins don't know what they're talking about when they disagree with me. It's a flaw on my part.

    And I don't really know what to say about the art, unless your connecting life and learning to art--which I agree with. You can learn a lot from art (which, of course, isn't limited to paintings), and you can learn more about yourself through creation.

  • 1 decade ago

    Well, I've yet to have many "significant" birthdays, but when I did, I always thought, "Let me see what happens now." I felt like I had passed a little stage and was moving on to the next one to explore. I don't measure my life by years; I measure it by what I have done, what I have learned, and who I shared that with.

    I've lived almost fifteen years, and I'm always learning things... all the time, but some things have had more impact on my life than others. I wouldn't say that the older I get, the more I learn, because that would be dismissing my entire childhood's worth of learning. Though I would say that perhaps I use what I learn in better ways as I get older, since I now know how to.

    I'm not a wise person. I do things that I know I shouldn't, I make bad choices and I know I am making them. I have learned plenty about people as I got older, though, and I guess this could be considered "wisdom." I know people, I study people, and sometimes I even know what they're thinking. Let me tell you, I am both fascinated, amazed, and disgusted most of the time. When I was younger, I assumed all people were good. Now I know that's not true, but still, I like to think that all people mean well, deep down; this is probably unwise. Maybe when I'm older, I'll know better than to think that through a gathering of wisdom. I do aim to be wise one day.

    I try not to make assumptions about people based on how they look, age or otherwise. That's not to say that I am immune to bad first impression-making or anything, because I often fail at what I try (that's how I learn things), but I usually wait until I can talk with people to decide what kind of person they are.

    Art comes in many forms. The older I get, the more I can appreciate the many forms of art. Sure, I can respect each thing as "art," but that doesn't mean I think it's any good. It is what it is, that's the way I see it.

    Age affects all people in different ways at different paces, I suppose.

    Source(s): PS: Sweet new avatar.
  • 1 decade ago

    Well, they're all inter-related. With each birthday, you gain age. The higher your age, the more life you've seen, the more you've experienced, and in the process you've become wiser. The thing is, life is a finite amount of time, even if your greatest wish is that it extends on into infinity, it won't. We can only do so much in a lifetime. This is where art comes into play. Within your lifetime, you've made friends and had children...in other words, you've found people to carry on your legacy after you've died. When generations after generations continue on a single legacy, they've created an art.

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  • 1 decade ago

    Yeah, reader took my answer, too. How does she keep doing that -- speaking my mind?

    Perhaps the only people who say age doesn't matter are young. Maybe they say that because they get tired of being judged by their lack of it?

    But as Vet said, age is part of the criteria we use when we size people up. It's naive to believe we're not judgmental. We make instant judgments of people all the time, such as our first impression of someone, and within that process, our brains include age.

    We get treated with bias when we're young and again when we're old. Both the young and the old exist on the margins of society. The difference is when we're young, society feels a responsibility to look out for us and control us. When we're old, society ignores us and we become pretty much invisible, except when it wants to control us.

    And yes, arabesque, I think you were very astute to mention art in a question about age. As we mature and grow more experienced we're not as easily impressed. Plus, our interpretations take on a different perspective because we have so much more we can relate to. There are some things -- music, movies, books, art -- we wonder how we could have been so attracted to years ago because now they seem pedestrian. And there are others we gave no credit to at all in our youth that now mean so much to us. Then, as reader observed, there are other things we love just as much now as we did then because they act as a bridge. They enable us to remember who we were.

    All our stages have something to offer us. I remember my 10th birthday because it put me into the double digits and I didn't feel so much like the baby anymore. Then, just as you said, 13 -- a teenager, finally! -- then my driver's license at 16, and so on. But, again to refer back to reader, once we pass our 20s and 30s, we pretty much ignore age. I recently turned 60 and I figure this will be my best decade yet.

    **Add: Vet, you have such insight already, it's almost scary to think of you being even more wise.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Age is just another artificial concept, a beneficial tool that can categorize people in small groups, which makes everything easier and less chaotic.

    Birthdays were never important to me, i dont even celebrate my birthday. I dont "measure" my life based on how many birthdays i have gone through, and what exactly does "measuring your life" mean? Elaborating will be a good idea. Being older doesnt make you more intelligent, or more wise. I saw plenty of retarded and childish old people. I make assumptions about others based on how they "think". This is a good indicator of maturity.

    I dont understand your art question...uhh from abstractions?

  • 1 decade ago

    Yes I do celebrate birthdays. In fact I just turned 13 a few months ago.

    I don't feel like being 13 is a big deal now. No, I don't measure my life, no I don't equate the number of years I've lived. I don't like to judge others because of their age. That's stupid.

  • 4 years ago

    I am exactly 35... and it depends. I feel wiser and much more mature than when I was 17 or 25. Obviously I do not look like 17 or 25... although I do look fab for 35. I do not think we feel an age... because it is others who feel it for us when they place us under categories or age groups... Age does exist... but if you take care of yourself, it gets less relevant. I have had 20 year old guys hitting on me (guys who say "no one over 30, please") and I have had people who think I'm too old for something. It depends on you and also on the eyes of others. It is very relative.

  • 1 decade ago

    celebration of birthdays has got nothing to do with age. Advancement of age does not necessarily enrich you with life experiences. One may face a lot of problems at a very young age. experience of walking ahead gives you wishdom leading to refinement in way of thinking, living the life. And that is art of living -- art in life.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    I HATE birthdays, have just avoided feasting mine, I went away for two days ; indeed i'm contrary to any celebration

    I hate feeling time to pass, i prefer to live the actuality ;

    TIME for me, is today and tomorrow : yesterday is only a doubtful memory

    and I certainly do not measure my life in terms of years, but instead in term of accomplishments and experiences

    about wisdom : yes, i feel wiser than years ago, simply because i've tried and searched a lot


    don't understand your question on art ; please specify

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