Young at Heart
What are your thoughts on aging? How will you stay young at heart as you get older?
I am a Model-T Ford. Somewhere around 120 years-of-age is my expected expiration date (give or take 20 years).
Let me explain.
The Scientific Matters
When does a person get “old”?
At first thought, “old” can be perceived as a numerical number. This numerical number for “old” has changed drastically in the last hundred-plus years. In the United States, during the 1880s, 35 years of age was the upper end of life expectancy.
Presently, the norm for a person’s life expectancy is near 80+ years of age. I have noticed that weekly, in our local paper, a person of 98 years or more has passed away.
At a time period that still thinks of 50 years of age being the “You’re getting up there” time period… there is an awful lot of life left to live from then until 100 year old.
Therefore I believe that George Burns showed great wisdom with his insights concerning one’s age:
“You can’t help getting older, but you don’t have to get old.”
The Attitudinal Matters
Age is a fabrication of the mind.
There are several premises that I will share with you to explain my own personal truth concerning aging.
“Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.” Mark Twain
Wow! Do I want to believe Mr. Twain!
But all I have to do is step out on to the basketball courts or the tennis courts…
Life is not as it once was, Mr. Twain.
I believe in your first premise, but your conclusion is erroneous.
“Old minds are like old horses; you must exercise them if you wish to keep them in working order.” John Adams
Yep! Mr. Adams, you have a lot going for you here!
Use it or lose it is far more than a mindset… It seems to be a promise for one’s future.
The need to continue to exercise the passions and abilities that one wants to continue to develop for one’s lifetime… This seems to be a truth.
Keeping one’s skills hidden- laid up upon a shelf- saved until a later date… When the day comes that you desire the ability once again… you will find your skills very rusty… in need of profound sharpening and precise honing.
“Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young. The greatest thing in life is to keep your mind young.” Henry Ford
“I don’t believe one grows older. I think that what happens early on in life is that at a certain age one stands still and stagnates.” T. S. Eliot
This is the key to not getting “old”… One has to stay as active in life as life will allow at each given moment. One has to continue to exercise the triad that makes us human.
Exercising the body… When one can run… run. If one can only walk… enjoy the walk. If one has to rock for a while… then rock-n-roll!
Exercising the mind… Continue to home in on the passions you had as a child… continue to learn and become a master of new passions. The world is full of new happenings… Get on board!
Exercise your spirit… Somewhere along the line of maturity.- whatever that may mean to you- there should be a few fundamental truths that have become your guideposts. Find them. Allow them to continue to direct your path. Allow them to solidify your very being.
So Where Am I in this Aging Process?
I am a Model-T Ford.
I am still responsible. I often use the older ways to complete the task, but I am not afraid of new elements.
I still enjoy the outings to new places. It’s all about location… location…location… I have been to many locations. I have found the one now pleasing to me. But I still enjoy the adventures of the new… just not as fast as those young whippersnappers.
I enjoy the attention that a bit of maturity has allowed. But now I see the ability for the sun to rise and set in others is more important than the sun rising and setting in me.
I can still run on regular gasoline, but I do often need a little more priming to get me started each morning. I need to pay more attention to my diet, if I do intend to reach the 120 year landmark.
My ignition does not turn over as fast as it once did.
I have limitations in the kneeling and cracking for a self-starting morning. Making a list for self-rewards is far more important a motivation tool than it once was.
Going up hills… My engine can overheat more quickly than it once did. I can become exasperated… Or I can enjoy the views offered from many different locational stopping pints on my trip.
As a youth, it was all about the destination. Now, the journey is the more remarkable happening.
I am happy morphing from a 1978 Mustang SuperSport (as a youth) to a 1911 Ford Model T Torpedo Runabout (as an old-timer). I think there are more people turning their heads to watch me and follow now than there ever was in my youth. (Even as an aged-one… a posse is important.)
Written for The Daily Post. December 27, 2015.Young At Heart