Nadie es tan joven que no se pueda morir mañana, ni tan viejo que no pueda vivir un día más. (“No one is so young that they cannot die tomorrow, nor so old that they cannot live another day.”)
MD is my roommate’s friend here at USC. She is originally from Miami Beach, Florida and has lived there her whole life. She was raised by Argentinian parents who immigrated to Florida when they were in their teenage years. She describes her parents as both free spirited and herself in the same fashion.
MD: I think my parents both always had these really poetic and pretty sounding sayings growing up just because of the type of people that they are. If I had to pick one I’d say, “Nadie es tan joven que no se pueda morir mañana, ni tan viejo que no pueda vivir un día más.”
DO (Interviewer): Can you explain more about that?
MD: Well a literal translation of it is “No one is too old that they can’t live another day, nor too young that they cannot die tomorrow.” My mom always says it to me.
DO: What do you think the significance is to her? Or even what does it mean to you?
MD: My mom is a free spirit, live in the moment type of woman for sure. So I think this is her way of saying two things actually. The first part is saying you’re never too old to go after what you want. Never too old for adventure. The second part is more of a warning I guess. I think a lot of people, especially in our generation, have a “live fast, die young” mentality. To me this phrase is like a balance thing. Go after what you want because it’s never too late, but also remember that what you do can have consequences.
Even though the saying is in Spanish it has more of a lifestyle type of folklore than a cultural one. Societal norms may place certain restrictions or even uphold certain ideals based on age and common perceptions of certain age groups. This phrase can serve as a statement to break these ideas of what age means and go against the grain of what expectations are placed on you based on your age. Western culture has a notion of the youth being reckless and free and the older generations being wise and sometimes even sort of stagnant in their lifestyle. With phrases like these, it’s an encouragement to break these norms. Additionally, this phrase can stand to represent the importance of life itself, encouraging others to enjoy it while it’s here but also live in a way that lets you enjoy it as much as possible. It can also stand to talk about time and how we all have these ideas about it. Some believe they have a set amount of time here and others feel, in a sense, immortal. This phrase works to explore that.