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Am I At The Age of Aging?

You’re not old- you’re still just a baby!” It’s comforting to hear that I guess, but the people telling me I’m still a baby are usually over 70. That’s not that comforting. I’m 54 now, and for the first time in my life, I’m starting to wonder if I’m old. Ok maybe it’s not the first time (I did write this blog post a few years ago), but it’s one of the first times.

People would often guess my age to be about 40. That stopped a few years ago. I felt physically better than ever until about 2 years ago. My memory was sharp as the razor that cuts my beard until recently. Speaking of that beard, it turned gray last year and I’m not at all happy about it (see the previous line about “not looking 40 anymore”). This year, I’ve been attacked by some of the same thoughts my friend Troy is currently dealing with (see his post here).

My mind has been focusing on questions like: Are you past your prime? How close to death are you? Are you (body and mind) going straight downhill from here? What do you have to show for your life? What else can you accomplish before you head to the exits? Do you have the energy to do it? Hey old dog, can you still learn new tricks?

All of these questions are bothersome and irritating. I’d like also to say they’re unhelpful and unhealthy, but I’m honestly not sure if that’s true. There might be some value in them as far as self reflection and gearing up for what’s next. I’m not sure. But after taking a look back at my life over the past several months, I noticed that the appearance of these thoughts directly correlates with the weakening of my self care routine. I’m not saying I could have prevented this mini, mental crisis or that I’ve found the magical answers to the questions of aging, but I think it would have helped me to be and feel the best I can, and to deal with thoughts better as they arise. So here is my as yet untested (after all I am only 54) recipe for growing old without feeling old. 

In no certain order:

  1. Do yoga everyday
  2. Eat a clean diet
  3. Get proper sleep
  4. Get regular exercise 
  5. Keep up with what’s new in the world and engage with it (Art, technology,..)
  6. Stretch your body, stretch your mind, stretch your spirit
  7. Keep stress in check!!
  8. Meditate
  9. Make some younger friends
  10. Have a purpose or goal
  11. Stay connected to people and community

And if you’re looking for something more credible, here’s the opinion of some random but wise 70 year-old I found on Medium.  Read it- it’s really good!

I know a guy who began running at age 52. He’s now deep into his 60’s, still works a full time job and travels the world to run marathons. He sometimes runs several in a month! He is proof that a strong mentality can lead to deep vitality (running is as much mental as it is physical). I do think a lot of aging is mental, although clearly a lot of it is not.  But there are plenty of elders we can learn from, leading to a deeply satisfying middle and later life.

Here are a few “old people” who still seem to be living large, contributing, and doing cool stuff (I did all my research on Wikipedia and YouTube- scoff if you want to).

  1. Joe Biden – US President – 80 years old
  2. Jeannie Rice– Marathon Runner-71 years old
  3. Lorne Michaels– TV Producer- 78 years old
  4. Tao Porchon Lynch– Yoga Instructor 96- years old
  5. Steve Martin- Actor/Comedian- 77 years old
  6. Tom Hanks– Actor- 66 years old
  7. Judy Woodruff– News Anchor/Journalist- 76 years old
  8. Tom Brady– NFL Quarterback- 105 in football years, 45 in actual years
  9. The cast of 80 for Brady– stars multiple senior women, as does the soundtrack 

And these are just a few of the more famous people, not to mention all those still killing it in life as “regular Joes”.

When nature does catch up to me and my time comes, I hope to be spiritually and emotionally together enough to accept my fate with gratitude, in the same way my daughter did when she realized she was growing into a new phase of amusement park rides. Until then, may we ride the wave all the way in and onto the beach.

Follow Todd and the rest of the great writers at Wise & Shine. You can also visit Todd’s personal Five O’Clock Shadow blog, or follow his musical life at www.toddfulginiti.com

44 thoughts on “Am I At The Age of Aging?

  1. I’m the same age as you and in many ways I feel better today than during my 30s (career exhaustion) and 40s (baby-toddler-preschooler-induced fatigue). 😊

    I find it very difficult to hear terms like ” Oh you still look good” as if comparing my circumstances or physical looks are in some way a measuring device against other people my age. We don’t know their story. We don’t know people’s personal circumstances. And we really don’t owe anyone any explanations. Perhaps I look better compared to someone who is struggling with some disease. What if I look worse than the person who’s had multiple Botox treatments and has access to a personal Pilates coach three times a week?

    It’s all very subjective.

    The man who said that to me once (‘still looking good’ after we hadn’t seen each other in 20 years) made that comment in innocence, meaning, he didn’t mean any harm. In fact, he probably meant it as a compliment.

    But it’s funny that I cringed at the phrase…

  2. Oh, I’m right there with you Todd. Thanks so much for writing this. I’m not sure why but I’ve been reminded constantly lately that I’m not as young as I once was and when I have been told that I’m still a baby, it’s from people like my 85-year-old mother, who is forced to say things like that. Ha, ha. I like your self-care list. I need to get back to a few of those things. Good luck!

    1. 😁😁 Ah yes- sounds familiar about the “still a baby” comments. Thanks Brian!

  3. I love every bit of this post — pep talk, self-talk and reflection. Thanks, Todd…and the chuckle about Tom Brady’s age in “football years”? I must’ve missed that giggle along the way. He’s quite the outlier, isn’t he? Thanks for the encouragement. We, your friends who are sliding into the last act with you love the commiserating. Oh — and #7 — keep stress in check? I like to think that includes laughing at myself as much as possible. 🤣

    1. Thanks Victoria! Yes- not taking oneself too seriously is a good aspect of #7 😁 I like your phrase “sliding into the final act” 😎

  4. I have 5 on you and understand completely your thoughts. Many of the items in your recipe for growing old I too have adopted. I am trying to get into mindfulness but my mind is always on the go (often without me). I adopted a dress down attitude (Ts, shorts, flip-flops are my business attire until the winter really kicks in and it becomes jeans, sweatshirts and flip-flops). For the most part I am much happier with the new me.

    1. I had to laugh at the line “my mind is on the go without me” 😁 I can relate that sometimes too. Thanks for reading Danny!

  5. Ah, the challenges of getting older! I recently rejoined Planet Fitness after stopping when the pandemic shut stuff down. I had been working on my fitness doing lots of walks, but the last few months have had weather or allergy issues that kept me from my walks, until I realized I was quite sedentary.

    When my brother mentioned he thought he could pinpoint our mother’s marked decline in mobility to when she switched from walking to buying and using a mobility scooter to get around.

    That woke me up really fast. I realized I needed to get back to the gym or I’d lose more mobility than just having bad knees and the onset of arthritis in my joints.

    Keeping young physically takes work!

    1. Ain’t that the truth! It sure does- but I strongly agree with the importance of trying to stay mobile 💪🏻

  6. I feel you, Todd. It’s a disturbing age. I’m 74. I worked a job that kept me walking a great deal until I was 67. As my main passions are video games and writing, it’s easy to fall into the Couch Potato mentality. But let me offer you two thoughts without insulting your age…

    1. You aren’t going to keep physically young. You can do things to maintain a good level of health for your age, but I’d lay off the running if it was me. Walk, bicycle, treadmill, moderate weights, but leave that running to the youngsters whose cartilage is still intact; all that constant, daily pound, pound, pound will age your knees faster than anything.

    2. Don’t fret over your lost youth. If your youth was filled with things that you enjoyed that you can’t do anymore, you can miss it, certainly, and talk of your fond memories as you would the toddlers of your past, but aging is a fact of life, and there’s no sense losing half the time you have left mourning because you didn’t climb Everest. Cherish your accomplishments, tell tall tales to the kids, even brag a little, but every moment you’re whinging about getting old is a moment you aren’t enjoying your new status as an Elder Statesman.

    Be guided by the motto, “The older I get, the better I was,” and never neglect the opportunity to enjoy today!

  7. What matters in life is the present Time and we Can get happily old when we see that we have made something out of our life and Can be still thrilling we have goals to achieve .

  8. I exited a lousy marriage when I was 55 but felt 65, then started all over again in a new job when I was 57 and felt 50. I live in a condo building with an average age of 75. We’re old—but the the ability to laugh about being old is what helps to keep us young. Hang on to your sense of humor. It will keep you young at any age.

  9. Love your list of people who are stilll doing “useful” things and your list and ruminations. I think I read somewhere that happiness peaks at 25 and 65. So we’re just in the middle of that which probably leads to extra contemplation. Right?

  10. Great Post Todd, and its given me pause. I’d say a couple of years ago the reality of my age hit me very hard, emotionally and I kind of went into denial. However, we can’t bury our heads in the sand and pretend it’s not happening. It doesn’t stop it. I’m still working on achieving many of the things on your list consistently, but my attitude has changed enormously. Now I want to live and enjoy the years I have left and recognise that the more I do now to get fit, the better I will be and feel 20-30 years from now. Both my grandmothers lived til 90, I want to beat them but do everything I can to ensure I can enjoy life in my 90s.
    Great post and timely reminder to look after ourselves, Todd. Thank you

    1. Thanks Brenda- I appreciate your comment! I didn’t give any of this stuff a single thought until I turned 50 a few years ago. Since then it’s been on my mind more than I’d like.

      1. I can relate to that. Actually, it was discussion here in our community last year that helped me get things into perspective and change my mindset

  11. My totally amazing grandma is going to be 99 in a few weeks. She’s only just moved out of her house and into residential care. Her memory is sadly failing but she still says she feels like she’s only 16 really, it’s just her body that hasn’t received that message. She can recite poems from her childhood and always has interesting stores for my boys (her great grandchildren). Her favourite sayings are “don’t wish your life away” and “get your endorphins working” – she’s a firm believer in a positive attitude paying off.

    1. That’s awesome! Great line about her being 16 but the body not getting the message! 😁

  12. Oh man… you and I are walking down the same path. It’s never too late to adjust and make life changes (at least that’s what I’ve been telling myself!)

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