In My Head I am 40
Among the most prevalent myths about aging is the one that one day you wake up and accept you are “old”. Or that “old people” know they are finished, cruising the margins of life, bored and disinterested in anything beyond metamucil or Biotin! Not so fast. It still comes as a shock to me. I am the same age as “old people!”
How is that possible? I am full of optimism and hope even in these complex times, my sense of humor is intact, I ride a spin bike every morning, do aerobics at the gym, lift weights and walk 3-4 miles 3 x a week! And I still work and contribute to community. I grandparent 2 girls under 3 and love it! I am still waiting to feel “old”! Yes, some things hurt the next day and I am more careful on a ladder. I know my ankles are not as springy as when I was 30 but I am not willing to miss a thing!
I talk to so many people 60-90 about aging. At 60 most are still doing everything they love. 70 brings some caution about ladders and pivoting quickly on your feet. My pickleball partner is 82 and almost ready for a tournament! She can rocket that pickle ball and her gait is that of a 20 year old. She has always been a runner and has stayed very fit. One day I was idling through my Next Door app and a woman posted about her empty life at 60. A 90 year man responded ” I pilot a boat, spend time at the library, and do charity work! Get out there and do stuff while you are still young!” So I guess it’s all perspective.
I also believe, based on reading The Biology of Belief that cells have memory and listen on on everything you think, so I keep informing my inner life that I am 40. It’s a fascinating book and an easy read.
So what’s the work ahead for you? It’s sounds awful, but it is the work of deciding how to pass out of this world as part of your bucket list. Are you going to leave a legacy of wisdom and orderliness, or negativity and chaos? Have you organized your passwords, done a Health Care Directive, and added a trusted beneficiary upon death to your accounts? If you are lucky enough to pass peacefully and on your terms, who do you want to ease you over to the great beyond? All these things demand introspection and some sobering acknowledgements that you are mortal. But taking this final passage on with the same gusto you led your life is liberating. And as some of us age, the great rest is appealing in a strange way. When I think about it, I worry about my kids, but I won’t be aware of them, so that eases it somewhat. Seeing them suffer would be hard. If we ARE lucky enough to land in heaven or come back as a mystic, that will be a happy surprise that I welcome!