The age old question of how old someone is has always seemed to be a driving force in how we judge someone. If they are young, they have an excuse; If they are old, they do not. If they are young, they are marvelous for doing something with their life. If they are old, they are expected to have already done something with their life. If someone is old, they are wise, and if someone is young, they have much to learn.
There are so many different connotations that go along with asking someone’s age, and a lot of it has to do with different ways that we ourselves perceive age. What someone should have done or not done by a certain age is only fact in our minds because of the life we have lived. But everyone is different.
So no matter how old you were when you discovered your passion, or if you haven’t discovered it yet, that is of no consequence. What matters is how passionately you go after your dreams and how much you believe in yourself, age aside. Because whether you are very young or very old, or somewhere in between, like me, you have every right to chase your desires. The only time age is an issue is when we make it one.
So, I had a birthday. And I happen to adore birthdays. Not so much the celebrating of them with a party and a cake (though I do love cake…) but more the idea that life moves forward and with each passing moment I learn something new about it. I love celebrating life and how wonderful it is to be here. I am so grateful for it.
The question of age comes up very often for me. When I am speaking somewhere or teaching or exhibiting, one thing that everyone seems to want to put in the introduction is how old I am. I’m not sure why there is a preoccupation with age, but to me, it is irrelevant. We are as old as our imaginations.
So when someone asks me how old I am, I want to respond with this simple statement:
I am old enough to know right from wrong.
Old enough to know love.
Old enough to have a business.
I am young enough to chase my dreams.
Young enough to believe my dreams can come true.
Young enough to understand my imagination.
Numbers mean so little. So while I could sit here and tell you that I am now 27 years old, it doesn’t mean anything. What matters more is impossible to put into words, let alone numbers. What matters is how we embrace who we are, our imaginations, and our dreams. Old or young, everyone deserves that much.
Anne Snape - I also celebrate my birthday this week. When asked my age, I have to subtract the current year from the year of my birth (which was many moons ago). It is of no matter, because I know I am ageless. And my passion for photography, lying dormant for many years until ignited by you, is now ablaze with my vision for today and every day that I live.
Liat - Brooke, this post is exceptionally emotional for me. Thank you for sharing, always. Today I’m starting to teach a course at my old university in Toronto about fine art photography. Thank you for being the one to trigger this passion in me, almost two years ago. I am so excited. Happy belated birthday to you!!
Jody McNary - I am a 5 year old!!!
I have always been young at heart. Never caring what other people thought. I love that about me!!
Love the self portrait… another Masterpiece!!
Have a wonderful day!!
Mary Angelini - Wow, great question – my sister and I were discussing that very thing the other day!! While physically I am starting to feel my years, mentally I feel like I have been stuck in time and still back when i was in my 20s. Coming to terms with my physical limitations when my mind is still so willing has been a really hard thing to come to terms with – because it is about coming to terms with it since you can’t turn back the clock. I don’t even mind the gray hairs and wrinkles, its the inability to move and exert myself the way I used to that is so hard to cope with. Them the brilliance of my military training comes into play and I simply “overcome and adapt” as best as I can, it’ll never be the same, but thank God I still have some work-arounds!
Carin Harris - A Very Happy Snappy Birthday to you!
My main job involves working with numbers……so they’re in my life every day whether I want them or not. But saying that, inside I’m still a child at heart even though on the outside I’m not. But what does that matter? The soul is eternal and un-ageing & that’s all that matters really. Well that’s my excuse for actring the fool every now and then (well way more than that actually hehehehe)
Penblwydd hapus i chi Brooke
thomas miles - brooke the video isn’t working! I really want to watch it and it doesn’t work D:
Melanie - This is my favorite image so far! I love it and I can’t say exactly why. It’s just a visceral draw I suppose.
I’d like to describe my age in the same form in which you described yours, I think it’s a great exercise in figuring out who you are.
I am old enough to know love in the form of family, friendship, spousal-hood (just made that up), and motherhood. I am old enough to wish I had done things differently, but young enough to start all over again. I am at the age where I can teach any age it’s not too late to learn how to do what you’ve always wanted to do and actually do.
I’m sure there’s more and I will probably continue to pontificate on this the rest of the day. Good luck in India!
Jen Sulak - loving you brooke!!!! so glad to have met you. and i love how you’ve ended this writing….with your poem. <3
Kimberly A Edwards - Brooke, that’s good question. I’ve never really looked at age. I don’t feel age. It doesn’t seem like I’m a certain age. Many people think I “look” young. I have experienced many things in my time. I sense the seasons I’ve been through. I haven’t watched the video yet. I love all your work. Such awesome imagination and art.
Tom Newforge - Almost didn’t have time to read this and I definately don’t have time to comment….but I will anyway.
The preoccupation with your age, as in you Brooke, should be flattering. People are impressed by how much you’ve accomplished at such an early point in your life. I definately don’t think you should worry about anyone questioning your experience in this world. Not saying you are at all. I’m simply making a point.
With that said it goes the other way too. Tack ten years on and we are now closer to my age. I sometimes get strange looks when I tell people I just started a photography business within the last year.
Some think its cool that I’m chasing a dream. The most disapproval I get is from the younger crowd. I think there’s an assumption that I just figured my life out or something like that. What they don’t get is that photography is just the latest reinvention of myself. (Don’t take that as a lack respect for the craft as I’ve always loved it.) they don’t understand that I’ve accomplished quite a bit for someone my age and have life experiences that some in their 60s wish they’d had.
I’m not trying to toot my own horn here at all. (If I was I’d go into better detail. Haha). What I am trying to say is that I try like heck not to judge anyone or assume I know where they’ve come from and I especially make it a point not to judge someone on age.
I had a 60 something liver cancer survivor following me through knee deep crusty snow last weekend in VT, up and down huge rocks and over frozen rivers like it was nothing and snapping pics the whole way. I’ve met people under 30 whom I was convinced I had figured out within 5 minutes who turn out to be not at all what I had assumed. Life throws you curveballs. Be ready for ’em.
Ana - I was profoundly traumatized with my age all my life. I’ve learnt along the way that age is meaningless, and it’s never too early or too late to do now anything. Because of it, I finally feel (or begin to feel) free from that conceptual cage. So now I say; This is the youngest I’ve ever been.
Paulo Carvalho - Excellent question! For me the number that is on the identity card, tells me nothing. Two weeks ago was also my birthday and according to the card is 40. However, I do not feel that, and I do not feel it both ways: Physically and mentally.
Physically, I keep the same rhythm when I was 20 or even more… What can be a problem! Doing sports like running or mountain biking when we have 20 years old is not the same when we have 40, but I do it as if I had 20. Then I get to end of the day without moving! Maybe, that is the reason why some friends were amazed with my age, because for them, physically, I have only 30. And that feels so good.
Mentally, I will always have 20, because I do everything… I still do, think, react and love as I did when I was 20 years, with more experience that’s for sure.
And I agree a lot with you. I always thought that and I will continue to think so, because the number is nothing. To be human and know to be happy, is everything.
Margherita Introna - Happy birthday dear Brooke! Wishing you a year filled with love and laughter shared with special people in beautiful spaces… May you continue to live in the world of your dreams and go on many amazing adventures that you can capture for us <3 Thank you for sharing this video and your thoughts. It was a treat as always to see your process… This is a very special image indeed and one feel binds me to you in some magical way <3 xx
Andrea - Brooke seriously beautiful and refreshing. I love this post. I have found myself so many times fearing I am running out of time for dreams. I love how you are inspiring so many with this post to abandon those fears <3. Reminding me that dreams and passions are timeless 🙂 I know if you are in India you are smiling and spreading that infectious passion and joy of yours. 🙂 Happy birthday sweet Brooke. Thank you for sharing.
Michelle - Happy Birthday Brooke. I turned 36 yesterday, I’m yet to decide who or what I wish to be when I “grow up”. In the meantime I shall continue to enjoy the journey. Xxx
Laura - I guess you can’t be anything other than your age, I guess it’s more down to the expectations of what your bahviours, attitude, lifestyle etc should be. I don’t agree with expectations overall (leave school, get a job, get married, have kids, get granite kitchen worktops) let alone with the expectations for age.
I’m 29 I have a sensible job, I have a house and drive a skateboard. I two children my 1000d and my mark iii and two hermitt crabs. In my spare time I like to drink fine cocktails, hike up trees and watch cartoons until the wee hours while eating m&ms. close enough…….
A belated happy birthday 🙂 x
Frania - I always have to think twice when people ask me about my age, I always forget how old I’m already am 😀 but honoustly, I’m still very young and at the glory of my life. A glory who I will try to keep forever.
I’m old enough to know what I think is important in life.
I’m old enough to make the world a better place and to inspire other people.
I’m old enough to know that change is good.
I’m young enough to see light in the darkness.
I’m young enough to believe in dreams.
I’m young enough to have the craziest ideas.
I’m young enough to not to be scared of getting old, because I know age is not just a number.
Happy birthday Brooke!
Lisa Lizarraga - I also just had my birthday and my real age is 45 but my soul age is free spirit now. I am still young enough to be a super hero for the first time in my life with my grandson and experience a whole new world with him that i didn’t allow myself to experience with my daughter. I am old enough to have learned some smart lessons in life. I am young enough to still get butterflies all over when they leave my stomach. I am grateful for age because i feel better than when i was 20 or 30 and not a free spirit <3
riando - i’m 19 years old,, i’m dreamer,
Mary-Claire - Like Frania, I forget how old I am until someone asks (or I look in the mirror).
I am old enough to have learned from my mistakes and young enough to continue to learn. I am old enough to have had a career and young enough to begin another. I am old enough to have lots of children and am grateful to be young enough to be silly with them. I am young enough to think of what I do when “I grow up” and old enough to have grown up well.
thomas miles - Happy Birthday Brooke! 😀
And I’m not sure exactly how old I feel, I don’t feel ready to do things like workshops or travelling, Yet I feel like I’m ready to start up a business. 🙂 I can’t wait to start doing workshops one day though. I also love to refer back to my childhood and past memories! Love this photo 😀
thomas miles - P.S ignore my comment before, the video works now 😀 *phew*
Paul Carrion - Really nice and wise words Brooke!
I Always tough about age as metal state more than a physical one, thats why you see grandparents with more life and energy than their grandsons. Thats why you can´t stop staring an old couple dancing, you mind can´t tell what your eyes see, how such an old body can dace with so much life.
Really nice concept, love how the branches look in your hair, if you were a tree you a pretty beautiful one.
June - Happy Birthday!
To me age is always an odd topic. On the one hand many people are telling me that I am very mature, very calm and very serious for my age. I guess this is true because my parents always taught me to do my job (whatever that may be) right and decent and not half assed.
At the same time I can (and love it to) be very childish like freaking out about trivial things or burst out in happiness because of a good froyo or my favourite movie. That’s how people see me.
It’s hard for me to describe how old I feel, because it’s so unsteady. On some moments I feel very old maybe too weak to go on with whatever I just did. This sounds more tragic than it really is but I am questioning the sense in my doing and the importance of my very little existence.
I’ve understood that life is always changing and things never stay the same. So what am I trying?
People change from kind to bitter (and vice-versa), my friends, people that I once loved with all my heart and of course myself- I’m changing too. I understood and accepted that and I guess that’s what might makes me old.
On the contrary I am too young to know where I want to go. You could say I am still trying. If someone asks me what I want to be later all I can say is “happy”. That’s the only thing I know for sure, I want to be happy. I can’t say want kind of job I want to have later, where to live and how to live, cause I truly don’t know and it’s okay. I haven’t been around for long so I think it’s acceptable that I still need to walk a few paths until I find mine.
Emanuel - How old are you is the most powerful question you have ask to date.
When I think about it, it makes my heart cry. I feel so much passion for art. I always feel I am one photograph away from a masterpiece. I said it before “you have the most wonderful mind” You might be an angel. Thanks for be you!