When I was young, older people seemed really old. At the age of ten a thirty year old person seemed old and anyone over fifty was ancient, after that they were the walking dead. How the process of ageing changes that perspective. At the age of thirty, ten years olds are children, at forty twenty years olds don’t know what they are talking about. By the time you get to ninety they must all seem so young, even those sixty year olds.
The weird thing is that, in the main, from the inside, whatever age you are, you do not feel any older. I am reminded of my adopted Grannie Edna who at the age of 96 told me how she was eighteen inside. She would say, ‘I am really eighteen it is just that this body doesn’t work properly’.
Ed, approaching forty, needed to do this podcast. He is feeling a bit different to the way he did ten years ago. I think that it is the turn of each decade that effects people. It is the years with noughts on 20, 30, 40, and so on that have the effect. Being 29 seems very different to being 30 just as 59 seems very different to being 60 and I guess 99 seems very different to being 100.
I don’t think that age has ever really been the problem that it seems to be today. Previous generations grew old and wrinkly and accepted that age was a natural process. In some cultures old people were, and sometimes still are, highly respected and revered. The current drive to maintain, at least the appearance of youth has devalued and denigrating ageing. Ageing these days seems to viewed more as an illness that needs to be treated rather than a process that needs to be understood and enjoyed.
The reality is that the ageing process begins at the moment of our birth and we can’t stop. It doesn’t matter how much we lift, tuck or Botox we are only ever changing what the outside looks like. The changes of ageing that are taking place below the skin are the ones that mark the passing of time and our age.
Some of us will be genetically programmed to age slower and/or live longer. For some both the quality and the length of life will be determined by life style choices. Others will suffer illness or trauma. If we look at this mindfully we come back to the same place…
…it is never what happens that counts but how we respond to it that is important.
At any age you can have a young mind or an old mind. Our attitudes to ageing and our bodies, our experience and our happiness are not about our bodies it is to do with our choice to live happily or unhappily. Unhappy people can feel older and less able and allow themselves to become progressively less well and mobile and so on.
My advice to staying young is to remain engaged, remain interested, embrace life long learning and keep going. Get a hobby, start a business, do some charity work, learn a new skill, write a book, travel…whatever you do don’t stop learning.
If you continue to learn you will continue to create new brain cells. If you have new brain cells you will have a bigger and a younger brain. If you have a younger brain you will have younger ideas. If you have younger ideas you will live a younger life. If you live a young life you feel younger and stay younger, it doesn’t matter how old you become in years.
With the people that I see there are forty year ‘old’ people and eighty year ‘young’ people. The more I see the more I realise that age is a state of mind not a state of time or of body. As they say you are as young as you feel.
Take care and be forever young