Getting Older

“Aging is not lost youth but a new stage of opportunity and strength.”
-Betty Friedan

We all dread it at some point. We try our best to stall it and when we can’t, we’d all like to pretend it’s not there by covering it up in any way possible.

I’m talking about aging.

There are so many quotes out there, including today’s, which in some shape or form suggest that as long as your thinking is young, age doesn’t matter. On the other hand, it’s a biological fact that we our bodies and health change for the the worse as we get older.

So are life coaches, psychologists and motivational speakers wrong?

I don’t think so. Like anything else in life, to reach an ideal state of mind there needs to be a a healthy balance between associating age with optimism all the while being aware of the reality of Mother Nature.

As we get older, our bodies do indeed get weaker. We’re more susceptible to illnesses and we obviously won’t be able to do things at the age of eighty that we could do in our twenties.

At the same time, that’s no reason for complete despair. We may have to change our approach to achieve certain things when we’re older but we shouldn’t deem every single task or endeavor impossible without even trying solely because of our age. Especially when we have terrific examples contradicting that theory.

Athlete Charles Eugster, who passed away at the age of ninety-seven, started bodybuilding at eighty-seven and went to on to win many medals and competitions. Eugster was not different from anyone else his age in that his body at that age had considerably weakened and had a “pancake butt” as he himself stated in an interview.

Eugster admitted that entering bodybuilding at that age did involve a lot more intricacies than it would at a younger age. His diet and exercise had to be carefully calculated accordingly.

And yet, in spite of all the hurdles, he went on to set records in more than eleven different competitions.

Eugster’s philosophy was very similar to the ideas expressed in this post. He accepted the fact that getting older brings on many challenges but never let that kill his enthusiasm and determination.

Age is not “just a number.” You may not always be “as old as you feel.” By the same token, getting older is not a roadblock, it’s just a speedbump. You may have to slow down a little to cross it but there is a road ahead of it.

How do you view the process of getting older? Do you feel certain ambitions and goals must be avoided with age? Or do you share Eugster’s spirit? Share your thoughts and experiences by commenting below.

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