As I write this I am 73 years old. I have survived three types of cancer, a heart attack, and a knee replacement. I am working as an Adjunct Associate Professor in the Department of Preventive Medicine and Public Health at the University of Kansas Medical Center. I am currently appearing in a play at Topeka Civic Theatre. I am in two improv comedy companies, Laugh Lines, and The Senior Class, and I operate Laugh2Learn where you are finding this blog. I am “retired,” and I am not old.
Today I want to begin to share with you my thoughts on aging, and why I believe that “old” is a state of mind that is easily avoided.
The secret, if you want to call it a secret, is acting like young people act. There are several facits to this and I will discuss them over the course of several blog posts.
The first one is to accept your age. Young people don’t deny their age. As a matter of fact, they often exaggerate it. “I’m almost 16.” When you deny your age, no matter how cleverly you do it, (“I’m 39 again this year.”) you are telling yourself your age is something to be ashamed of. If you are ashamed of who you are, how can you be happy?
So accept it. Embrace it. Be proud of it. Not everyone has the privilidge of achieving the years you have achieved. You are in a special class. You have lived to be ___. Be proud. It’s a great accomplishment.
A word of caution here. Don’t fish for, “Oh my, you don’t look that old.” That’s what old people do. As a matter of fact there is no need to go around announcing your age. Young people don’t, but then they never avoid the subject either. So if someone tells you you don’t look that old, the best response is, “This is how 73 looks. What did you expect?”
So, first lesson in acting young, accept your age.
Next up: Focus forward.