In recent years, actually the past decade or so, I haven’t given much thought to my numerical age or other’s people’s reactions to a particular age. When asked my age and I tell a person how old I am I typically get a response as “Really?” or “Wow, you don’t look…”
My point though is that I think that oftentimes people place too much emphasis on a number.
Not too long ago, a friend of mine sent me an email which put a unique spin on getting older. The inspiration behind the material is from the comedian George Carlin:
“Do you realize that the only time in our lives when we like to get old is when we’re kids? If you’re less than 10 years old, you’re so excited about aging that you think in fractions. “How old are you?” “I’m four and a half!” You’re never thirty-six and a half. You’re four and a half, going on five! That’s the key.
You get into your teens, now they can’t hold you back. You jump to the next number, or even a few ahead. “How old are you?” “I’m gonna be 16!” You could be 13, but hey, you’re gonna be 16! And then the greatest day of your life . . . You become 21. Even the words sound like a ceremony . . YOU BECOME 21. YESSSS!!!
But then you turn 30. Oooohh, what happened there? Makes you sound like bad milk! He TURNED; we had to throw him out. There’s no fun now, you’re just a sour-dumpling.
What’s wrong? What’s changed? You BECOME 21, you TURN 30, then you’re PUSHING 40. Whoa! Put on the brakes, it’s all slipping away. Before you know it, you REACH 50. And your dreams are gone. But wait!!! You MAKE it to 60. You didn’t think you would!
So you BECOME 21, TURN 30, PUSH 40, REACH 50 and MAKE it to 60. You’ve built up so much speed that you HIT 70! After that it’s a day-by-day thing; you HIT Wednesday!
You get into your 80’s and every day is a complete cycle; you HIT lunch; you TURN 4:30; you REACH bedtime. And it doesn’t end there. Into the 90’s, you start going backwards; “I Was JUST 92.” Then a strange thing happens. If you make it over 100, you become a little kid again. “I’m 100 and a half!”
May you all make it to a healthy 100 and a half!!”
And now, without further ado, my personal recommendations for staying young:
1. Throw out nonessential numbers. This includes age, weight and height. Let the doctors worry about them. That is why you pay them.
2. Keep only cheerful friends. The grouches pull you down.
3. Keep learning. Learn more about the computer, crafts, gardening, whatever. Never let the brain idle. “An idle mind is the devil’s workshop.” And the devil’s name is Alzheimer’s.
4. Enjoy the simple things.
5. Laugh often, long and loud. Laugh until you gasp for breath or your stomach hurts. Whichever comes first.
6. The tears happen. Endure, grieve, and move on. The only person who is with us our entire life is the one looking back at you in the mirror. Be ALIVE while you are alive.
7. Surround yourself with what you love, whether it’s family, pets, keepsakes, music, plants, hobbies, whatever. Your home is your refuge.
8. Cherish your health: If it is good, preserve it. If it is unstable, improve it. If it is beyond what you can improve, seek medical help.
9. Don’t take guilt trips. Take a trip to the mall, the next county, or a foreign country if you must, but NOT to where the guilt is.
10. Tell the people you love that you love them, at every opportunity. And remember that life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breaths away.
Based in Atlanta, GA, John Kwarsick is Director of Sales with OpenText, a leading provider of content and document lifecycle solutions. Prior to OpenText, John was Director of Sales with Cognizant Technology Solutions, and held management positions with Quantum, CommVault and Mercury Interactive. Follow him on Twitter.