That Old Attitude
How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you are? Satchel Paige
This question reminds me of the influence our thinking has on how we feel as we age. In almost every book on anti-aging (there are many), the secrets to long life include attitudinal factors such as: flexibility, adaptability, and reducing stress.
According to Deepak Chopra in “Growing Younger,” it is how old you feel psychologically that influences your biological age (age based on bio markers). He claims that our “cells eavesdrop on our thought processes.” Thinking ‘I am old and cannot do that anymore’ can be a self-fulfilling prophecy for physical and mental decline.
Do we expect to slow down, lose our memory and develop health problems? Do these expectations affect our behaviour? I believe we can develop an “old attitude” which sets us up for health problems.
Here is how the “old attitude” can work:
If we expect to slow down, then we may stop exercising. When our muscles are not used, they will decline and we will then slow down, as expected.
If we expect to lose our memory, we can stop exercising our minds, which is known to accelerate mental decline.
If we expect to have health problems, we can stop taking care of ourselves, which will then result in health problems.
Aging is out of our control - a fact of life. Our attitude is something we can control. Every now and then it helps to check our attitude. Exercising our funny bone helps, as the saying goes: He who laughs, lasts. Unknown.
We can even laugh at our attitude towards aging. I found this humorous view of aging on the internet:
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 ten years old, you’re so excited about aging that you think in fractions. “How old are you?” “I am four and a half.” You’re never 36 and a half, but you’re four and a half going on five.
You get into your teens; now they can’t hold you back. You jump to the next number. “How old are you?” “I’m going to be 16.”
Then the great day of your life; you become 21. Even the words sound like a ceremony. You BECOME 21 !
Then you turn 30. What happened there? Makes you sound like bad milk. He TURNED; we had to throw him out. What’s wrong? What changed? You BECOME 21; you TURN 30.
Then you’re pushing 40…get over there. You REACH 50, like you fell over a finish line; then you MAKE it to 60 (against all odds?). By then you’ve built up so much speed, you HIT 70.
You get into your 80’s; and it doesn’t end there. Into your 90’s, you start going backwards, you say: “I was just 92.”
Then a strange thing happens; if you make over 100, you become a little kid again: “I’m 100 and a half.”
Happy Aging! Author Unknown
I will give the final word to Mark Twain who said: Age is an issue of mind over matter, if you don’t mind it doesn’t matter.