The other day I was talking to my young ortho surgeon and mentioned about my mobility problems notwithstanding the several physiotherapic exercises I do and when he suggested me several activities to keep myself fit, I added ‘Well, I have to be a bit realistic also. I am ageing’. But, the ortho smilingly said ‘Age is just a number’. The ubiquitous motivational talk! I didn’t counter him. I too smiled. Out of curiosity, I googled this popular idiom; wow, I got a load of cards and quotes on this. An addition also; ‘Age is just a number. Wrong. It is a word.’ LOL!
But, are ‘Numbers’ so insignificant?
Right from the day a child is conceived and come to this world the days are counted in numbers only. We celebrate birth days irrespective age through numbers. We go to school for a particular number of years; so also the college education. We look for the job for a salary which is agreeable to us provided the number is impressive. Everything is priced and they are in numbers. We decide to have the number of children. We pay for everything in numbers. Our properties are accounted in numbers. Our promotions are based on the number of years of service and years of experience. Like the age in number is specified for a job, we are asked to retire at a particular age which is again a number.
Even the successful contestants are named as 1st 2nd and so on in numbers.
Even societally, the population is represented in numbers. In elections the party wins with the maximum or the specified number of seats. A government falls because of inadequate numbers of representatives. Winners are identified with numbers. Social positions are also given by numbers only. Our health conditions like fever, sugar, blood pressure etc have specified numbers. We now live in a digital world.
In the risk analysis I have done for many years in my service, numbers are very essential to drive home my point of safety quantitatively in case of an accident in terms of number of casualties of men and materials.
Numbers play very major role and also an integral part of everyone’s birth, life and death. We may be impressed by the tales of septuagenarian climbing Everest, sexagenarian becoming a business tycoon, nonagenarian winning a Marathon Race. Such achievements are rare and exceptions. They cannot become rules or reality.
‘Age is just a number’ is a fancy worded, intelligently phrased motivational idiomatic expression. In reality, such motivational talks are aplenty and they are 'just sentences' which are smartly worded, impressively structured empty rhetoric only.
Sorry. I don’t take them seriously. Period.