“None are so old as those who have outlived enthusiasm. ”
Henry David Thoreau
I had a birthday this week; happens to the best of us. Anyway, it left me thinking about aging, growing older, maturing – you name it, it’s all the same to me. There are lots of good things about aging. For example, one would hope we get a bit wiser as our experiences contribute to our internal book of knowledge.
“You can’t help getting older, but you don’t have to get old.”
As we get older we have more time for the things we rushed past in our youth. We appreciate spring flowers, birds singing, children laughing, a sunny afternoon spent in the company of a good friend (or even a rainy one if the friend is good enough!)-you get the idea. We learn to be comfortable in our own skin and to care just a little bit less about what others think of us.
“It’s paradoxical that the idea of living a long life appeals to everyone, but the idea of getting old doesn’t appeal to anyone.”
If we’re lucky, we get to retire and return to some of the things we missed while we were working. Things like art, photography, writing, reading, travel, music to name a few. Some are able to find a second career that gives them more fulfillment than the one from which they retired. Some turn to teaching or mentoring to help others take advantage of their experience.
“Anyone who keeps the ability to see beauty never grows old.”
There are, of course, some downsides to aging–at least once you reach a certain point. Take any group of 50 or 60-somethings and you’ll find various ailments across-the-board. Nothing serious, just annoyances like failing eyesight, bad knees, hearing challenges, bunions; you get the idea. More worrisome is the thought of what might follow in the NEXT 10 or 15 years. You know what Oliver Wendell Holmes said about age – the definition of old is 15 years older than you are now.
“I’m gonna enjoy being old. I think I’ll be awesome!”
I think Craig Ferguson has the right idea – I plan to be ever more awesome as I age. The most consistent pieces of advice among all of the resources that address staying young while aging include:
- Stay Healthy – Exercise, eat well, avoid stress
- Stay Connected – Love your partner, cherish your friends, get out into the world and find other kindred spirits
- Seek New Experiences – Explore the world both near and far, learn something new, overcome a fear
- Find Joy – There’s lots of it out there, even in the little things. Keep smiling, eventually your mood will match your mouth
- Help Others – Nothing makes you appreciate your life as much as helping someone who has been less fortunate. It’s nourishment for the soul.
“Anyone who stops learning is old, whether he be 20 or 80.”
So, you may ask, how old am I? Older than yesterday, younger than tomorrow. Out of the 30s, not yet close to the 70s. And according to Oliver Wendell Holmes, I still have 15 years to go before I get old! So now that I’ve unlocked the secret of staying young…..
…I close with a long-favorite quote from the ever-eloquent Robert Browning, “Grow old with me, the best is yet to be.”