We visited the metal dump today. The size and color of this retired gear made me stop. This thing had to be really old to be this color. To call it rusty is an understatement. It had to be very worn out in order to be at the dump. But how does a gear wear out? Does it actually wear out or does the machine it is part of get retired? Or maybe the machine got replaced by something automated? All I can think of is that someone had this HUGE gear dropped at the dump because it was no longer needed. 

So when is something vintage and valuable and when is it old and rusty? In some things rust means more valuable. Some people like aged items. If the item isn’t old they actually work to age it or make it looked worn. So to some people the color of rust is beautiful. Rust means it has survived the passing of time and has character. Then there are those who only want new, fresh, mint condition items. These people see rust as a detractor and something to be avoided. In their eyes if something has rust, it is old and worthless, simply worn out. 

If we think this way about things, how does our view change when it applies to people? People don’t actually show rust, yet their appearance does change with age. We get age spots, our hair changes color, and wrinkles begin to show all over our bodies. As we age we also slow down and have less energy. So people do show age, but does that mean they are worn out? Or does it means they are experienced, mature, and wise? It all depends on how you look at it. Their physical appearance shows age, and yet when it really matters they are the ones with the knowledge, the experience, and the wisdom to know how to succeed. If you judge the gear by it’s rust or the person by their physical appearance, you may lose out on the one piece that can make the machine work. 

In a culture where we worship youth, new, fresh and devalue old, rusty, or wrinkled…think again. The gear in this shot has all sorts of great opportunities ahead of it. It was the machine in which it was installed that failed. When living in your own world, check once and maybe twice before you decide how to define old. One day you will be old to someone else and the judgements you make today may come back to haunt you in later years. And let’s face it, we all hope to be old…it is better than the alternative!