Listen, do you want to know a secret?
Do you promise not to tell, whoa, oh?
I have a secret. Do you promise not to tell? Here it is: I’m feeling old.
I get it. We boomers are not supposed to admit it. As we age the prevailing theory is we are to forge ahead and pretend we feel better than ever.
You’ve heard it. “50 is the new 30” or “60 is the new 40.” Yeah. Right. Go ahead and believe the lie. But I’ve decided to come clean.
- I’m tired.
- I need bookmarks to find my chin.
- My hearing is not what it used to be.
- My hair is starting to thin.
I’ve decided to embrace the reality of getting old instead of lying to myself about how young I feel. Are you horrified? Are you shocked? Are you tempted to stop reading? Listen. Do you want to know another secret?
As I embrace getting older I’m discovering three powerful benefits of getting old.
First, by embracing my age I can be realistic about my goals.
In my early 20s I read an article about a runner who saw a fawn in the countryside while jogging. The runner chased the fawn through the woods and meadow. He tells of the thrill as he touched the exhausted fawn when it fell to the ground. The story impressed me so much I started jogging. Although my jogging career only lasted three months I still dream about chasing a deer and touching it. Crazy, huh?
As I embrace my age I’ve accepted the reality. This dream, along with many others, will never happen. But accepting the reality is a good thing. As I face reality I’m embracing meaningful goals which are attainable.
What are some goals you can set which are realistic? Look to the future. Assess your abilities. Set new meaningful goals.
Second, as I embrace my age, I’m gaining a fresh appreciation of life.
When I lie to myself and say, “I’m not that old” it robs me of the perspective gained over 6 decades on the planet. Yes. I am that old. And I’ve navigated over 60 years on this planet. It allows me to reflect on the journey and appreciate where I’ve been, where I am, and where I’m going.
Think of how long you’ve been on the journey. Embrace it. You’ve been doing life for a long time. You have gained a perspective over the long years. You’ve earned the right to sit back and appreciate life. You are a survivor.
39 years ago I received a midnight phone call letting me know my 18 year old brother had been killed by a drunk driver. Mike never had a chance to grow old. He never got married or had kids or grandkids or had wrinkles. He never knew the joys of getting old.
With the increasing wrinkles on your face, your life perspective increases. Embrace it.
Third, as I age I’m more determined to make the remaining years count.
If I keep lying to myself and say “I’m not that old” I’m going to lose the sense of urgency which comes with a deadline. It is sometimes difficult to embrace it but I know time is running out. If I want to write a book I better get at it. If I want to leave a lasting legacy now is the time to work on it. If I want to restore broken relationships I ought to do it now and not later.
Embracing your age builds a welcome and motivating sense of urgency. Now is your time. We have no promise of “someday.” Try this. Imagine today is your last day on earth. What unfinished business would you most regret? What major goal or dream comes to mind? Go. Do. That.
Make your remaining years count.
“Listen. Do you want to know a secret?” John Lennon borrowed those words from a Walt Disney song from the movie Snow White. Lennon, years after writing his hit song, reported his mother Julia would sing the 1937 Disney song “I’m Wishing” to him as a child. The opening lines of the song are “You wanna hear a secret? Do you promise not to tell?”
From Snow White to the Beatles we all have secrets. Now you know Lennon’s and mine.
Are you going to embrace your age so you can make the rest of life the best of life?
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