30 Days of Gratitude – Day #22, Getting Old Might Suck, But Who Really Wants to Be Young Forever?!

gratitude

Continuing with my 30 Days of Gratitude, I am thankful for the years I have behind me.

Day #22 – Aging Is Not Always Bad

Our society puts a high premium on youth, but that is mostly in terms of appearance – we want our celebrities young and beautiful. But as noted by Chrissy, being (or even looking) young makes it hard to be taken seriously.

Recently we have seen several examples of people who either are trying to go back, or not move on, or something. These might be mid-life crises, people in college really wanting to still be in high school; wanting to be single and in their 20s again, and so on. The motivations for this vary, but they mostly seem to stem from fear or regret – maybe someone fears moving away from home or having kids or getting married, or they regret the path they took or choices they made.

But getting older isn’t all bad – and of course it really isn’t optional!

What I find interesting is the way some in our community are dealing with it. Amanda had a great post about when PRs are behind you, addressing the reality that eventually there will be nothing we can do to get faster.

Then Harold laid out the alternatives pretty clearly:

being dead

or

being old

Personally while I do wish I had discovered racing back when I started running, I have no desire to be in my 20s again … or even my 30s. I loved those years – my 20s were a journey of discovery as I went from fat to fit, assuming I’d be single forever to married. My 30s brought our two boys, home ownership, great accomplishments professionally, and amazing times with Lisa.

Our 40s have seen our boys become great young men, my layoff and move to Corning NY, and some of the best times of my marriage. The last few years have seen my running restart with vigor, taking my daily mileage from 2.5 to 7.5 miles, cutting 33% off my pace, and the first races of my life.

I don’t know what the future holds, but I know I will get older, as will everyone around me. I look forward to seeing where the boys and up and how Lisa and I can continue our grand adventure!

How do you feel about getting older?

How about some songs about getting old? There is a fun list on Slate, but I’ll just go with The Who … because of the delicious irony of 70+ year old geezers still trying to rock like they are in their 20s!

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19 thoughts on “30 Days of Gratitude – Day #22, Getting Old Might Suck, But Who Really Wants to Be Young Forever?!

  1. This is a great post. Personally, I’ve been excited about getting older, especially since next year is the big 3-0 for me. Sure, some days I wish I weren’t seeing things like crows feet or greys starting to appear, but the increased confidence and stability in my life are more than worth it. Not to mention all of the incredible experiences I’ve been able to have in these 3 decades.

    You know, you aren’t the only blogger who has written a “pro-age” post recently. Emily at Emily’s Full Plate did as well. I know these are minor examples in a big sea of youth-obsessed culture, but I’m hoping that it might be an indication that some of us are ready to start being more appreciative of wisdom and aging. Here’s hoping!

  2. Thoughtful post! I’ve always said to myself that grandma could do and say whatever the hell she wanted – she’s been though & seen enough that she deserves it. As I age, I’m thinking that I’m OK with getting closer and closer to acting like grandma! πŸ˜€

    • Thanks! It is funny how worried we can be when we are younger about how we appear or come across in even the most trivial situation … aging can definitely put that stuff in perspective. I don’t see myself being too far ‘out there’, but definitely loosening up on how many F’s I give πŸ™‚

  3. I feel the same way! I love hearing people say that each decade just gets better than the last.
    I once asked a friend if he could be any age, what would it be and he said 10. Boggled my mind. He said because when you’re a kid you have no responsibilities and you just play all day.
    I said 30 – because while you have responsibilities, you have the freedom to do what you want, but you’re not making the same bad decisions you made when you were in your early 20’s.
    Cheers to the birthdays ahead πŸ™‚

  4. Love this post and love what Harold had to say, too. I really don’t mind getting older and letting the PRs go. Like you said, it’s all about staying healthy and continuing to run. The only thing that gets to me when it comes to aging is how fast it all goes…I am 11 years off of 60. That is insane!

    • So true! It is funny at work for my wife and I talking about younger folks and how close they are to our kids at this point. It is definitely a switch being the parent of an adult (well, he’s 18, so technically ‘adult’), seeing things from a very different perspective.

  5. Age is an odd thing. Sometimes I feel like I am still in my early 20’s and other times like I am 20 years older than I am. I do have to say that so far, my 30’s are off to a better start than my 20’s were. My grandmother’s are the perfect example that age is nothing but a number and only has as much power as you give it. One is not well, partially because of hypochondriac issues and partially real issues and my other one still reads Harry Potter and jumps out of airplanes. Age is all in the mind.

    • I like what Carina said – age is in the mind … until it is in the body. At my fraternity reunion I had a number of folks in my age group and there was a pretty decent difference in health/appearance/etc. For the guys who were 5-10 years before us (late 70s college grad) it is even more of a pronounced difference. Some could go out back and toss the football … others could barely make the 6 stairs to the front door.

      But aside from actual physical issues, I totally agree … my wife’s mom more or less decided she was done when her husband (wife’s dad) died. Pretty sad, and no reason. Now it is just waiting for reality to catch up.

  6. Aging has bothered me a lot more in the last couple years since my grandpa had his stroke. I feel it gets better and better as you get older, until it doesn’t. Maybe you die, or maybe you have a long decline, where you’re left without your spouse, without many friends, and without the ability to do the things you loved (walking, eating, reading, bird watching, traveling, talking, etc.). My in-laws are also not aging well (falling down, dementia, disagreeable often), so it also scares me that my husband may go down that path in 30+ years. Fortunately, my parents are still in the “getting better all the time” mode, open-minded and active, having fun, and I hope they stay that way forever, but looking around the country at nursing homes, etc., it doesn’t seem likely. I don’t want to fear aging, and I have no particular issue with turning 40 (or 50, or 60), but I do fear the time when it stops betting better — and when maybe being dead is better than getting older. I hate that my grandpa seems to believe he’s in that boat now.

    • Totally agree, as I replied to someone else … I have had friends / family who have died in their 20s, 30s, and 40s, and just had a friend I met at our fraternity as an alumni die suddenly at 34. Ugh. You really never know how any of it will go, so it is a matter of doing the best you can with what you have – not giving up, keeping the mental part going rather than saying ‘I’m 55, time to sit in the rocking chair’ (I know people like that as well).

      “I do fear the time when it stops betting better” … absolutely, I think we all do. But my point is that there is more to life than either the exalting of 20-year olds as some ultimate goal, and looking at life as a ‘better off dead’ decrepit old person.

  7. I found a grey hair yesterday. I blamed it on the recent illness and plucked it out. I immediately thought that if I had greys maybe people would stop telling me that I looked 16. I have also been thinking of getting a t shirt that says I’m over 30. I am really happy with where I am and like you I can’t help but be excited about what the future holds.

    • haha – my son and his girlfriend were at a restaurant last weekend and they asked if they wanted wine samples and they said “we’re not 21” and the waitress was mortified. It is easy to make age assumptions – we all do it, and it can be embarrassing when wrong. πŸ™‚

  8. My age only started bugging me recently. Then again, I got mistaken for one of the Girls on the Run kiddos yesterday by more than one person. Although the I think it was more a function of height than anything. When I was 18 and asked if I wanted the children’s menu, it was not at all funny, but I liked it fine in my late twenties and thirties. Although somewhat to your point about not getting taken seriously when you look young, when my son was about 6 months old, a little old lady mistook me for my son’s sister and complimented me for taking care of my little brother while our mom shopped. Poor old dear looked shocked when I set her straight, although I added that I was 25. She thought I was at most 15.

    I think I look in my 40s now, but I want to be in denial about it.

    • Looking young is definitely a multi-edged sword πŸ™‚ Not sure what is the up and down side, but there are changes throughout time in how you are treated and how you WANT to be treated.

      My wife still gets treated like a child on the phone due to her voice, which has been an issue forever … but she also gets mistaken for being in her 30s, which she doesn’t mind as much πŸ™‚

  9. So far I haven’t minded getting older, although it does seem a little scary to think ahead! But at this point I am enjoying my 30s and wouldn’t want to go back to any other decades. I’m sure I’ll be ready for my 40s as well when the time comes.

    • Glad to hear it – I think people get all wrapped up in ‘5 year plans’ and where they are ‘supposed’ to be and so on and forget to just accept that where they are IS where they are supposed to be … and to enjoy it.

  10. Pingback: 30 Days of Gratitude Revisited | Running Around the Bend

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