Jagged line of time

On our birthdays, do we really 'turn' a year older?
or to put it another way
what changes when we grow older? what does it mean to be 35, 59 or 87?

there's the reality of degradation of body, accumulation of experiences, calcifying of certain biases and prejudices, getting used to certain rituals and practices and so on.
but none of these things are linear. so why should age be?

I wonder about notions of age among people in pre-industrial societies. they probably weren't as obsessed about linear growth as we are. Capitalism thrives on an ever expanding baloon of abundance and consumption. So that sense of growing permeates everything. we are supposed to get better, stronger, wiser, faster at everything. if we can't we are supposed to 'buy' tools for it. That's the basis of capitalism. if we stopped that want, the engine of capitalism will come to a grinding halt.
Imagine yourself free of that want! no need for 'growth'. no sense of milestones. no burden of the concept of age.

In the pre-industrial societies, death too was not a function of age. death could find anyone at any age. so the sense of death as a full-stop at the end of life perhaps wasn't there. there perhaps was no sense of 'gone too soon', or 'not soon enough'. which means, vitality and health was not a function of age.
instead luck/ fortune was a bigger concept then. you were fortunate to grow richer, healthier, wiser. most were not entitled to be it. it was not a linear journey where one is bound to become wiser, richer.

And hence journeys too were the pursuits at the fringe. most people probably didn't understand their lives as a journey - as a sequential conquest.
We modern humans though, can't articulate life beyond this perspective. look at any of those sappy anniversary wishes or biographies - they are all fucking journeys - through 'ups and downs' apparently.

My personal sense of time moves in sudden jerks and long pauses. There are times of existing and loving and being there. Days blend into each other. for the sake of convenience and conception of the world, time moves on - but nothing much changes with that movement. i am barely repeating myself over the course of days, months, years.

And then there are moments when things accelerate suddenly. it is as if the mind perceives much clearly, the world arranges itself smoothly and certain experiences take us on a ride that leaves an indelible mark on our psyche. 

That's when i feel i have grown/ aged/ existentially tired...
Real time, it feels, is marked by these experiences.

Maybe such experiences should become causes of celebration instead of birthdays?
A better understanding of 'age' then is really the scars, the muscles, the connections, the realisations that we carry in ourselves, that define our living.

well. :)

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