I both love and hate this little meme.
I love the idea that I am leveling up today. Level 48. Yes, that’s badass. Severely badass.
I’m leveling up today.
But you’re certainly not an old person at age 43, and you’re also most certainly not an old person at age 48.
Correction: There are some 43 year olds who behave as if they’re old people, just like there are some 48 year olds who behave like old people, too.
I happen to know a 34 year old who acts as if he’s ready for the grave. Perpetually exhausted. Chronically cranky. Endlessly pessimistic. Unwilling to take risks. Incapable of trying new things. Unable to muster the energy to do anything after 8:00 PM.
Yeah, that guy is old.
The argument that age is a state of mind is not a new one, but I think there is a lot of truth to it. But it’s not only a state of mind. I think age is more importantly a reflection about how you spend your time. How you choose to live your life.
I know a 71 year-old man who has recently transformed his life by diving into something new and difficult and ultimately joyous.
I know a 74 year-old woman who runs her own online business and has recently revived her career in art and just started licensing her work.
I know a 72 year-old woman who retired four years ago and has launched an entirely new second act of her life. She is traveling, trying new things, and playing lots and lots of golf.
These three people are living younger lives than others who I know who are decades younger.
A positive, youthful state of mind is nice, but it’s how that state of mind informs your decisions and behavior that count.
Are you trying new things? Taking risks? Exploring perviously ignored corners of yourself? Are you still making friends? Trying to make the world a better place?
My students know that I’m turning 48 today. They occasionally take great pleasure in referring to me as old. They are obviously struggling with a limited intellect. But a young lady recently came to my defense after a boy lobbed one of these “old man” claims at me, shouting, “He does more stuff than all of us, and he can even do a back-bend!”
That young lady will never know how much I enjoyed that comment.
It was a lovely birthday present.