In a couple of days from now, I will be celebrating yet another birthday as well as entering into another decade of my life. It seems like the older I get, the less I look forward to these birthdays. Maybe because I dread getting older. The thoughts of losing my physical capabilities as well as my mind totally scare the crap out of me. It is safe to say that many people feel the same way that I do. We all dread those days in the future when that gray hair starts to appear, wrinkles creep up on our faces and necks, physical pain becomes more frequent and we start forgetting things. It happens to everyone eventually;father time does not discriminate against anyone.
I find it interesting to look at how people age. One of my basketball playing buddies is in his late 50’s. He could easily pass for a 35-year-old in looks. He also runs around the court like a 25-year-old. Not only does he play basketball, but he runs marathons as well. He is also a vegetarian and if he had his way, all fast food restaurants would cease to exist. On the other hand, I have some friends who are 30 going on 50. Several of them smoke and eat the wrong foods. One of them thinks that he will get his daily filling of vegetables from eating a pizza!! Exercise for them is a total inconvenience. I think the only exercise they get is from getting off the couch to go to the bathroom! While my basketball playing buddy may have a birth certificate that states he is 28 years older than my other friends, his outward appearance tells a completely different story. The point of this example is that your lifestyle plays such a critical role in how you age, especially when you reach your 30’s and beyond. Sure genetics play an important role, but living an active lifestyle and taking care of your body can do wonders to make you feel and look younger.
One of my pet peeves with people is when they make the “old age excuse” for not being able to do something. I hear it often from people my age. Sure, some have certain physical problems that prevent them from performing a task. Maybe someone has a knee problem that prevents them playing sports, that is very understandable. But for many, it is really all in their head. People have this idea that reaching a certain age automatically disqualifies them from being active. That is total hogwash!! Many folks might be surprised at how much they still have left in tank. I always see a bunch of senior citizens playing tennis at nearby park. They probably think that they are still in their 30’s by the way they move. Nobody convinced them to stay at home and sit in a rocking chair!
Besides staying active and eating the right foods, the way you approach life has a great bearing on how you age. Is life boring and full of stress from work? I see people who work constantly without any real hobbies to pursue and they seem to age very quickly. Life is way too short to always be stressed out from working too much. People who are passionate about a certain hobby always seem to age much better. I know retired folks who are very excited each spring to hit the golf courses or go fishing. They live for those types of activities. My uncle loves to teeter in his backyard, chopping wood and stuff and he is more nimble than many people half his age. Sitting around and being bored with yourself is a sure recipe to age very quickly and look much older than you should.
I often get complimented about how I look for my age and it can really make my day if you ask me. Someone once asked me what my secret was. I certainly helps coming from a very youthful looking family, but I always think of myself as a much younger person. I don’t look at my age as being a barrier to any physical activity that I might pursue. Just because I am a certain age does not mean that my body is the same age. It may be much younger. I drive around listening to the same type of music that much younger people listen to. As a matter of fact, I enjoy hanging out with younger people from time to time. It make me feel much younger!
The truth is, age is really just a state of mind. Those who have that “I am too old attitude” will get what they deserve. I always believe that feeling and acting much younger than your age is a huge key in enjoying a wonderful life. Why use age as a barrier and excuse for not enjoying your life? In the meantime, I have to tell my elderly neighbors to turn down their music. They seem to enjoying that Justin Timberlake cd a little bit too much!!