“No matter what age you are, or what your circumstances might be, you are special, and you still have something unique to offer. Your life, because of who you are, has meaning.” — Barbara de Angelis
How old is old?
When I was in my early twenties I used to think 30 was old. Of all my birthday’s, I think turning 30 was the most difficult. Why? Because to me it meant that I was no longer young and that I had to “put away childish things.” It meant that now the world would officially see me as a “grown up,” and expect me to act like one — whatever that meant. For me it meant no more having fun going out to Happy Hour on Friday nights or dancing in a club. Where did this idea come from? I remember one night sitting at a bar in a restaurant with my best girlfriend. We were both in our twenties and we were, as the Jody Watley song says, “Looking For A New Love.” The DJ was spinning some tunes and people were on the dance floor having a good time. We were having a good time. I remember looking across the bar and seeing a woman in what looked to be her forties, sitting at the bar looking sad and drunk. This was not the first time I’d seen her in the place. She never looked liked she was really having a good time. To me she looked pathetic. She looked like an old woman trying to pick up a man. Each time I had seen her in the restaurant it looked like she was alone at the bar. Occasionally I’d see her talking with another female. And sometimes, before the end of the night, she’d end up in the company of one of the men in the restaurant. Now maybe we can say that she was just meeting all her dates at the same restaurant, or maybe she looked so sad because she was grieving. I’ll never know. What stuck with me was the thought I had after looking at this woman on that particular night. The thought being… “I don’t ever want that to be me. I don’t want to be some pathetic looking old woman sitting at a bar hoping to be picked up by some man.” And since somewhere in my mind I had deemed 30 to be old, it meant that that was the cutoff point for me to be out having fun in a bar or club. Not long after that I met the man who is now my husband and we did have lots of fun dating. Some of which included going out dancing. Soon the thought of 30 being old flew right out of my mind. In fact, a friend of mine and I actually had a conversation one day about how much we were enjoying our thirties. We felt like the twenties was just one big experimental phase and that with our early thirties we had discovered some newfound wisdom. We were still young, in good shape, having fun and we were wiser. WooHoo! Thirty has long since come and gone and I’ve found that although I may be getting older in years, I don’t feel old. I still feel vibrant, energetic, and curious about life. How about you?
So what have I learned about getting older? Ok, I haven’t completely thought it all out but here are a few of my pearls of wisdom:
1 – The outside may change but you can still remain young at heart.
“The great secret that all old people share is that you really haven’t changed in seventy or eighty years. Your body changes, but you don’t change at all. And that, of course, causes great confusion.” — Doris Lessing
“Growing old is mandatory; growing up is optional.” — Chili Davis
2 – With time and age comes experience — learn the lessons.
“Aging is an inevitable process. I surely wouldn’t want to grow younger. The older you become, the more you know; your bank account of knowledge is much richer.” — William Holden
“Of middle age the best that can be said is that a middle-aged person has likely learned how to have a little fun in spite of his troubles. – Don Marquis
3 – Keep having fun.
“We don’t stop playing because we grow old. We grow old because we stop playing.” –George Bernard Shaw
4 – Moderation is key. Too much of anything is not a good thing.
“Whatever you do, do it in moderation” — Proverbs
“Never go to excess, but let moderation be your guide.” — Marcus Tullius Cicero
5 – Take good care of yourself — mentally as well as physically.
“A man ninety years old was asked to what he attributed his longevity. I reckon, he said, with a twinkle in his eye, it’s because most nights I went to bed and slept when I should have sat up and worried.” — Dorothea Kent
6 – Seek understanding.
“The beginning of wisdom is: Acquire wisdom; And with all your acquiring, get understanding.” Proverbs 4:7
7 – Just because you grow older doesn’t mean you grow wiser. Always seek wisdom.
“Wisdom is not a product of schooling but of the lifelong attempt to acquire it” — Albert Einstein
Pearls of Wisdom campaign:
Charity Jewish Care has recently launched ‘Pearls of Wisdom,’ a campaign which aims to change the perception of elderly people in society and encourage the younger generation to recognize and engage with the wisdom and life experiences that our elders have to offer.
As part of the campaign, renowned Creative Director Malcolm Green has created a short film in which elderly people share their pearls of wisdom. They talk about love, life and lots of other topics in an insightful and often funny way.
Check out this video for some more Pearls of Wisdom:
facebook.com/jewishcare – where people are leaving their Pearls of Wisdom
In the words of Satchel Paige:
How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you were?
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How to Stay Young in Heart and Mind to Maximize Your Life