In fact, I’d venture to say that in many respects my life continues to get better as I get older, but unfortunately not everyone believes that. Ours is a society based on youth. And the perimeters of what constitutes “young” keep changing as fast as those associated with aging. So I have to wonder, “How old is too old?”
Georgesheehan.com makes a great point by asking if we didn’t know our “chronological” age, how old would we be? I’d like to take that one step further: if your age didn’t have a number — how old would you feel? Research shows that the average American is 30 years older functionally than he or she is chronologically. That means that an active 60-year-old and an inactive 30-year-old will have equal physical work capacity. In other words, most individuals aren’t taking full advantage of all their mental and physical capabilities.
I’m still trying to sort this theory out (I guess I’ll have to ask George Sheehan) but I do know that inactive people give aging a bad name.
Think about how many things we decide not to do because we think we’re too old. It took me a long time to stop using what other individuals my age were or were not doing as a benchmark. Time is gonna pass no matter what you do. Personal-development.com points out — and I have to agree with this — that whatever it is you want to accomplish you are never too old. Think about it: in four years, you will be four years older — whether you do [fill in the blank] or not. Which would you rather be, four years older with a degree (for example), or four years older without one? So you can see that you’re never too old to follow your dream. Whatever that dream happens to be.
Benjamin Franklin had the right idea when he said “Passion is a source of energy and youthfulness.”
Or how about Henry Ford: “Anyone who stops learning is old, whether this happens at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps on learning not only remains young but becomes constantly more valuable, regardless of physical capacity.”
One of the way-coolest books I ever read — “The Personal Power Course” by Wallace Wattles — makes a point of encouraging people to stop thinking about age. In other words, to become “ageless.”
“Age” and what you can or can’t do at a certain age, is a mental concept more than it’s anything else. And, like any mental concept…It can be changed.
If you don’t talk about age…don’t think about age… don’t celebrate birthdays…then you just “are.” Think about it, once you remove “age” from your agenda your possibilities are endless, aren’t they?
According to an article on WebMD.com, the emphasis on keeping mentally alert has more of an impact on the issue of “how old is too old?” For example, the results of a recent study on humor (which appears in the Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society) showed that the level of mental decline among the older adults was strongly associated with their ability to comprehend complex humor: older adults did not differ from their younger counterparts in their appreciation of humor overall, it’s just that more complex types of humor were a bit more difficult to grasp. Where as slapstick was easy to understand — suggesting that a person’s sense of humor persists well into old age and may perform an important role in coping with the stresses of aging.
So how is too old? Quite simply there IS no “too old.” Whether it’s learning, or sex or exercise or travel or making mud pies or snow angels or whatever the heck want to do., age is no limit in your pursuit of doing them.
And that’s the way it SHOULD be.