Getting Older Doesn’t Mean Getting Old: Two Different Things

“Not at my age.”

“Too old for that.”

“I’ll save that for the younger people.”

What do these three things have in common? Things I really try never, ever or ever to say, because getting older doesn’t mean getting old.

age is just a number

As my birthday quickly approaches, age is on my mind, which is unusual as it’s not something I think about much. I still have a young child at home and I am pretty active. I run, I stay up late and I still party with the best. While of course we have to do our best to stay healthy and that means we remember our bodies may change as we get older, I’m not letting my age change anything else. Age really is just a number for me and don’t tell anyone, but I almost never tell anyone my real age – and almost no one ever guesses it right either. Age signifies so much to people, why let someone define us by it?

Other than health issues, we’re only limited by what we let limit us. I did a quick Google search on age and I found quite a few inspirational quotes I hope to remember.

“You can’t help getting older, but you don’t have to get old.” (Unknown)

That one fits my feelings exactly. We don’t have control over how old we get, or what age may do to parts of our body, but we have control over much of what it can do to our minds. We don’t have to give in to being “old” or unable to do something. What’s not a true physical limitation doesn’t need to be a mental one either.

“Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.”

That one’s from Mark Twain. I don’t mind how old I am so I’m not going to let it matter. My age is not an excuse. Life is too short, I don’t want to have regrets, and if I’m okay missing out, not having regrets may be even worse. Shouldn’t we go down kicking and screaming, wanting to enjoy just one more event with our loved ones? One more sunset? One more glass of good wine, an entertaining book or a sinfully delicious cupcake? One last sky dive, ski run or race?

“I love the person I’ve become because I fought to become her,” from Kaci Diane.

This one gives another perspective. When we’ve tried so hard to get where we are in life, why let something as basic as a number jeopardize it?

I figure age is a lot like voting. If I don’t vote, I can’t complain about the outcome. At least I tried. If I don’t try to stay active or just give up, I can’t complain about feeling old. Age is so often a feeling. It’s a fact about the age of our body but we don’t need to let it change who we are. Age isn’t who we are, just one small adjective about us.

Someone in their 80s can be a lot more active than someone in their 30s. A 25-year-old can be wiser than someone twice their age. Go stand at Venice Beach for 10 minutes and you’ll see older bodybuilders that will put us younger people to shame. What’s their magic secret? They tried.

I’ve told my husband oh so many times, if I start acting old, tell me. If I’m content sitting on a chair while others are participating and I say I’m bored, it’s my own fault. If I’m missing out on anything while blaming my age, smack me upside the head. Figuratively, of course. I don’t want to be complacent in aging, I don’t want to do it quietly. I want to still have the energy to run with my great-grandkids, climb the stairs at a Nascar race, dance at a celebration and paint my kitchen walls. That doesn’t mean I won’t wince later at muscle pain or sleep extra from being tired; it just means I won’t miss out on the fun and experiences because of how many birthdays I’ve celebrated.

There are days I’m more tired than others, sure. There are days I’d give anything to have another baby, too. Crazy and totally at odds with each other. (And that baby thing, it’s not happening…) I may creak a little when I get out of the bed in the morning, I don’t always bounce back as quickly as I did after a late night out and my metabolism is slower, but I can still get out of bed in the morning. I can still stay up late and I can get that metabolism moving if I try. All is good. Those things only get in the way if I say “These things happen at my age, I’ll just need to deal with it.”

I don’t want to just deal with it. I don’t want to resign myself to looking back at memories, but I want to keep making them. Trying new things. Being silly with the kids. The list is endless. I don’t want to get set in my ways, just because this is how I’ve always done it. I want to continue to be willing to have an open mind, to do things I may not have ever wanted to do before. I don’t want to be the lady in the commercial that screams at riding in a motorcycle side car, wants to call the police on her neighbors for having a contained fire pit or hassles her husband for “eating his ice cream all over himself.” Where’s the fun in that?

Do you think age defines you? What’s the one thing you want to be able to say you did, despite age or lack of it? Share! Or what’s one thing that you refuse to stop doing just because your numbers are getting higher? For me, it’s skiing! And going to Disneyland. I’ll do those things forever! 

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