You’re Not Too Old

“I’m too old,” a friend said to me when I asked her to go with me to the (gym). “What do you mean you’re too old?” I asked. “I’m almost 73,” she said, “and when you get to be my age, you can’t do the things you use to do.”

I’ve heard that mantra from people younger than me, “I’m old.” They talk almost obsessively about their age. I wonder if it’s an excuse not to try anything new. When one says one is old, what exactly does that mean?

“I’m old. I’d just rather sit in front of the TV, and watch the world go by, content in my suffering.” Satisfied to live vicariously?

Does it mean one is ready to give up on life, sit down and wait for death? Have they stopped living? Not interested in exploring new areas? Close minded, stuck in the past; unable to accept changes?

Does that mean all the aches and pains remind one of ones age. And prevents them from trying something new?

“You can’t teach an old dog new tricks,” one friend said when I tried to get him to accompany me to a class.   Yes, you can teach an old dog new tricks. But the dog has to be interested in learning.

From the moment of our birth, we age. Yes, I admit that there are certain stages in our lives when significant changes take place; Going from a baby to a toddler, from preteens to teenager, from a teenager to a young adult, a young adult to an adult, middle age, elderly. Granted, as we age we must endure new aches and pains almost daily. However, if we focus only on those aches and pains, it prevents us from being open. And being open allows us to experience life’s riches.

There are many advantages to growing older. My list includes:

1.  I don’t have to compete for attention from the opposite sex.

2.  I wear what I like, comfort takes priority over trends.

3.  I’m comfortable with myself and with my decisions.

4.  I can stop and smell the roses if I choose.

5.  I’m like a child, my mind is open to new vistas and I’m willing to explore.

Despite my age, I feel young though for the younger person, I’m considered ancient. My body has sagged, wrinkles invade; I’ve got little aches and pains from time to time. I may be invisible to the young/younger, however, I don’t center (focus) on being old. I’m aware of the things I can no longer do. But there are so many things I want to learn, places I want to go, that I don’t have time to think about age.

Stepping out of your comfort zone

I remember when I was a little kid, and like most kids I loved to explore, to venture into unknown areas, to discover new things and try to learn how they worked; that is until Mama or Daddy slapped my hands to keep me from harming myself. That adventurous spirit continued into my teenage years sometimes leading me to take chances, some reckless, some not so, depending upon the influence of my friends. I would venture into places where I didn’t know what to expect. Fortunately, no harm resulted. As a young adult, the first big chance I took was when I moved away from family and friends and across the country to a state where I didn’t know anyone and did not have a job waiting. I had saved a little money to tide me over for a few weeks until I could find a place to stay and employment. (Jobs in those days were plentiful.) Somehow I managed to survive, but as time went by, responsibilities and obligations set in. And with those obligations and responsibilities came fear leaving me little time to think about much less follow any adventurous nature.

Many older people have traveled down the same road. In our youth, with no obligations or responsibilities hindering us from following the call of the wild except maybe family pressures, we take chances. Then, as we become adults, our fears change and in some instances grow. Not the childhood fears of the bogyman or the teenage fears of not fitting in, but adult fears that spring from the need to support a family, to find a job that satisfies, to raise our children to be loving, responsible adults, to make enough money not just to get by but not to have to worry about paying bills. With so much to consider, it’s no wonder our spirit for adventure becomes buried. When those responsibilities have been met, the children grown, and we settle down to enjoy our mature years, sometimes another fear invades our senses. We want to explore but we feel we must know the outcome before we venture out of our comfort zone. The need to think ahead gets in the way of answering that call to adventure. By adventure, I don’t mean doing something dangerous or life-threatening. I mean finding that spark that you had when you were younger, trusting in your judgment and following your heart. What do you have to lose? There is nothing sadder than regrets; wishing you had done something, but had let the opportunity go by. Keep in mind that life is fuller and more rewarding when we step out of our comfort zone.