Be young, retire or bust

Wherever you fit into the growth and decay spectrum of life, tradition has it that you are only as young as you feel.

If that rings true, then send a shout out to your Kenyan brothers and sisters. In Kenya, a recent proposal in government is to change the legal definition of youth to anyone aged from 15 to 50. This is a two-decade jump from the current ceiling of 30 years. If passed by parliament, that would put youths within five years of Kenya’s official retirement age of 55. Hmm…

The cup of immortal life, the chalice of immortal youth, the receptacle housing skin-with-that-just-face-lifted-zing; whatever the promise of youth is, it seems that for one reason or another, we all seek it. We all want to be forever young. In this case that reason is the aged’s attempt to access government treasury through youth funds.

Nonetheless this leaves us with some food for thought: In an age generally confounded for identity, what’s the draw-card of the already identity-challenged youthdom? Why does one seek it so desperately? When is one ready and fit to ascend its throne and finally, when does one retire from it? Can it be a gracious stepping down or is one necessarily dragged kicking and screaming away from its allure when one’s optometry prescription overtakes one’s shoesize? One one ders.

At the end of the day, the exact age and role definition of youth is cultural and circumstantial. In some cultures you’re leading the ox and cart down the harvest in your nappies whilst in others you’re 45 and still doubling your head mass with hair product and having commitment issues. But it does seem that in our West, we are far too obscessed with looking and acting young to actually live life as though we are.

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