I sometimes joke that my first journal was a stone tablet or that I learned to read from the Dead Sea Scrolls. The fact is that I really don’t have any issues when it comes to age. Turning 49 is not a cause for despair, to me it is a source of personal celebration and optimism.
Even though there are mornings when I wake up and feel like someone cranked the gravity up overnight and I seemingly lack some get-up-and-go, there are others where I jump out of bed and go “yippee”, ready to take on the world. Given these two extremes, I sometimes have a hard time reconciling the undisputable fact that even though I have been on this earth 49 years, deep down, I don’t really feel any differently. I am still me.
When I think back to the 1970’s television series “All In The Family”, the scripts tell us that during its run, the main characters Archie and Edith Bunker were in their late 40’s, early 50’s. Yet I have a hard time equating me and my current age to Archie and Edith’s. They seemed to act, think and look older.
The evidence will show that Mother Nature continues her disappearing act on my scalp, my skin doesn’t quite bounce back like a trampoline as it used to, and I am sometimes in bed before 10 pm… even on weekends or vacations. But the fact is that with a few exceptions, I still feel joyful, playful, energetic (on most days) and about as positive and optimistic about life as ever. This does not mean I have never had off-days or faced adversity, it’s just that I tried not to let life age me on the inside.
To a certain extent, I think this is where our dreams and bucket lists help. By keeping a list of fun things we want to do or pursue, we always have something ahead of us to work toward and to look forward to. By staying connected with our passions and favourite activities that energize us in our spare time, even if just for a few minutes, we have purpose, direction and a constant source of energy, regardless of age.
When I reflect on how I feel about turning 49, it’s not much different than I felt when turning 47 or 48. The two thoughts that come to mind are “lucky” and “grateful”, although perhaps a third might be “how the hell did that happen?”
But in all seriousness, I think some of the life lessons I picked up along the way are what got me to this point, living a relatively calm and comfortable journey:
– Never losing a sense of curiosity and interest in the world around me;
– Knowing when to save my energy and to stop selling what people aren’t buying;
– Knowing when to stop, take a breath and think before I speak or act; knowing when tact and diplomacy are called for rather than harsh reality;
– Trusting in my abilities, knowledge and resourcefulness in dealing with issues as they come up, rather than worrying about issues before they happen;
– Health is everything. A commitment to eating well, sleeping well and staying fit are a small price to pay;
– Learning to say no;
– The art of compromise, without compromising one’s self;
– Not worrying so much about what others think or say;
– Good manners never go out of style;
– Praise, thank and express gratitude.
The fact is that aging doesn’t scare me. Not only do I hope for another 49 years, I’d like another 49 after that if health, science and medecine will allow it. As long as my fingers can write or type, or failing that, if I can dictate to a computer, my purpose and service in tapping into the library of stories in my head will continue and have me jumping out of bed and going “yippee” in the morning.