I had always thought of the word aged as a hard-to-pronounce synonym for old. Are you aged or old? Doris Carnevali points out the difference, which is mighty interesting.
Old just means having been around for a long time. It applies to anything and everything, animal mineral or vegetable. It is basically a neutral term, although when applied to human beings has accrued some horribly negative connotations. I’m in favour of reclaiming the word old for myself, normalising and neutralising it.
Old is a word that daily grows more vague and more distasteful for the semi-old. We dread the word because we dread the fact. ~ from "A better word for old" in How To Be Old, by me
I never seriously considered using the word aged as a synonym until I read a post in Engaging With Aging called Thoughts on whether “Old” is different from “Aged.” Retired Professor Carnevali starts with definitions. I’m not sure of the source, but they make sense and the difference instantly jumps out at you:
- Old: ancient, long-lived, geriatric. long-standing
- Aged: seasoned, experienced, weathered, matured, mellowed, in full bloom, venerable
She points out that the concept of aging as applied to cheese, wine and musical instruments involves strategy, action, fine-tuning, and improvement. It’s a job for experts. Whereas becoming old… just happens, regardless.
I’m thinking, we humans are passive in the business of getting old: we can’t control time and if we are alive we are getting older by the minute. But if we consider aging-like-a-cheese or aging-like-a-violin, we humans are both active and acted upon. I find this a very satisfying concept.
This is a lovely analogy for engaging with aging as opposed to just getting old. This distinguished centenarian is indeed aging in the best possible sense. For the full picture, do read the blog post and explore her remarkable blog.Follow Write Into Life