Keep on Keeping On

Daily Prompt: What are your thoughts on aging? How will you stay young at heart as you get older?

I think I stopped thinking there was a connection between my actual chronological age and how old I really felt when I was in my late 30′s. I still felt like I was in my 20′s, and didn’t really see what that number had to do with anything. Yes I enjoyed the benefit of my car insurance rates dropping when I hit 30, but beyond that it pretty much meant nothing. I was still hanging out with a lot of the friends I had grown up with, who I also still perceived to be in their 20′s. We all were keeping up (or trying to) with the changes in the world, technology, music, we vowed there would not be a “generation gap” between us and our kids (or in my case nieces and nephews) Then came 50 and I had a hard time believing the number….50 was as old as my parents- how could I possibly be 50??? I think it was at that point that I really started ignoring the number. Everyone was saying that 50 was the new 30 anyway. I went to the gym everyday, stayed out of the sun, had continued to try to keep up with technology and music, and still didn’t feel any different than I had 30 years ago.

When I started working in a school, assisting in a classroom of first graders it was disconcerting to realize I was as old as some of the students’ grandparents. The head teacher is 42. In my head I am the same age as she is. That was until she told me recently that she wants to “aspire” to be like me. That in 16 years (thanks very much) she wants to still be fit, to have a young attitude, to be present in the current world of what is going on, to have a positive outlook and take things on with relish. What a compliment, what a beautiful thing to say- but what a mind blower at the same time. The words “in 16 years” were still ringing in my head. I see myself as a peer, a contemporary, maybe even the same age, but the reality is I am 16 years older, and as much as she sees me as young, there is a part of her that still sees me as 58. It may just be a number in my head, but it is still a real number.

I have learned to ignore the number. Despite the actual year of my birth, despite the medicine I take for osteoporosis, despite the wrinkles that have formed around my eyes, it really is a “state of mind.” If I think 30, I can be 30. The age spots continue to sprout on my hands, the same ones I remember seeing on my grandmother’s hands when I was a child. Sure the spots and wrinkles may give away my age, their emergence signifies I may be “of a certain age”- but does it matter? No. Staying young at heart is what counts to me. Keeping my “spirit” young.. and to just keep on keeping on.

lisafinish

15 thoughts on “Keep on Keeping On

  1. I have a read a few of these posts on the prompt and I really love your reply ! I enjoyed the way u showed us how U chew on this topic and how perspective shifts – and the example with u and the teacher is poignant! Having teens around we really see how even 25 sounds old – lol

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  2. I was once complaining about the big “5” when a friend ask me how old I felt without thinking about the number on the paper. The question took me by surprise, but although made me think. The big “5” was just a number, but it doesn’t mean I have to feel that way.

    I am not sure how old I am in my head, but it’s not 50’is, it’s way lower. Great post Lisa, we will have a good time when we meet.

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    • Marilyn a lot has to do with a persons health- my Aunt who is 78 bikes 15 miles everyday, goes to Pilates classes, is active volunteering and travels to Europe twice a year. My Uncle who lived to 107 was in Israel walking on his own everywhere 2 months before he died- they both had no health problems- my Uncle not until the week before he died. Having chronic pain changes everything, your having lived through major heart surgery and cancer takes its toll too- the body is going to be the reminder that no matter how young you may think you are, the person may still really feel their age.

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