How Not To Grow Old Gracefully

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I did a hub about growing old recently and I said something about a not-so-young gentleman behaving in a way considered to be not normal for his age, or in other words, behaving in a way that will elicit comments like, “You should grow up and act your age.” I, for one, have no intention of acting my chronological age and fully intend to act as old as I feel which, incidentally, is not a day over thirty. A friend happened by the hub, liked what I said and asked me how I would go about not acting my age.

And I was stumped.

Even when I was younger, I was never given to behavior that only the young can exhibit and get away with. I didn’t play pranks like there was no tomorrow, or make funny faces at strangers, or indulge in behavior considered embarrassing or irritating. I was actually quite a well-behaved kid, never getting into trouble and nearly always doing what I’m told.

But I’ve always felt young. Even as the years passed and my body grew older, my thoughts, and feelings and aspirations, while growing more mature, stayed young. It was and still is about the years ahead, the things yet to be done, and the pleasures yet to be savored. It is not about the years that have passed, the opportunities lost and the dreams that, for one reason or other, can no longer be accomplished in this lifetime.

And I think that is one of the things about growing old. As you grow older, you tend to look more at the past than at the future. When you meet your friends, you talk much more about what happened twenty years ago than about your plans for the months and years ahead. The past seems to stretch so much further for you while the future is probably what you are going to have for dinner that night.

Anyway, that’s for the old guys. While I’m very fond of my past and have been known to dwell a little too long on it on occasion, my sight is firmly focused on the future. I fully intend to be involved in life, in society and in the world however old I might have the good fortune to live to.

And when the day that I have to bid adieu to this world finally arrives, I would expect to face my last moments with a sense of anticipation, and say, “Now begins the next great adventure!”

And so, if I was given the chance to answer that question about how I will not act my age again, I will tell her that acting young is not so much about acting immaturely or irresponsibly as is the normal perception, but more about taking on the state of mind of the young and not taking on the state of mind of the old.

I will tell her that, for me, acting young is about always looking forward, to new experiences, new insights, new dreams and perhaps, even new disappointments. And most of all, acting young is to never let the bitterness of regrets, lost dreams and a sense that there is nothing more eat away at you until there is nothing left but an old person.

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Comments 47 comments

sriparna profile image

sriparna 5 years ago from New Delhi

Nice and inspiring hub, wandererh! I really liked it because I think in the same way. Though I'm almost 38, I refuse to grow old mentally, I still think of what new things I can do, I have planned to keep myself in the learning mode till I wither, and not allow my mind to grow beyond 25-30. Thanks for sharing!


Katharella profile image

Katharella 5 years ago from Lost in America

I agree with sriparna! Life is too short to think we must start being what others THINK we should be! It's just not right if you cannot be yourself, and others make fun of you because you still like things like fashionable things! Sure I'm not at an age I'm going to hop into a bikini and hit the beach and pretend I can keep up with the young girls playing volley ball, but I am still going to live and love fashion, and be silly, fun and creative! If anybody wants to take that away from me (and they do) then, I really don't have room for them in my life. I have that high up on my bucket list of making hubs rather than the negative things I've been told to do! I think it's another way people want to sneak into your life and make you feel bad for wanting to live what life you have left! v-up another AWESOME! Yes very inspiring as well! :)


nikashi_designs 5 years ago

Exactly, age is not a number but a state of mind. Thinking and acting young, not immature, keeping yourself open to new things. "I think, therefore I am" is my motto. I notice also, keeping your mind strong and youthful keeps your body that way. Just hit 45, people think I m lying, they figure 33 or so. Also, I surround myself with people that are interesting. Constantly, learning new things, daily. I know people that just work, go home, watch TV, eat, and bed..."just kill me" They are younger by far, but already show signs of grey and obesity. State of mind has a direct correlation with your health. Lots to think about. Always hated that, " act your age " I always say, "I am"...


Pamela N Red profile image

Pamela N Red 5 years ago from Oklahoma

Great outlook, WandererH.

Looking to the future, keeping our minds youthful by learning new things and keeping active is what keeps us young.

I turned 50 today so I understand reflecting on life.


anidae 5 years ago

I voted up and beautiful. What a great outlook on aging. I agree with you idea that age is a state of mind. I am in my late 60's but in my mind I am somewhere in my early 30's but with a lot of mature wisdom and knowledge.


Eiddwen profile image

Eiddwen 5 years ago from Wales

I loved this one a great read and unique which is what makes HP the great comminity that it is.

I vote up and her's to many more hubs to share.

Take care

Eiddwen.


wandererh profile image

wandererh 5 years ago from Singapore Author

sriparna - Glad that I'm not alone. And at 38 you are still young. Wait till you get to my age and you will get comments like "Do you think you can STILL do that?" when you want to do something simple like go on a roller coaster. If or when you do, make sure you give them a weird look for me, like they are crazy for saying something like that. :)


Twilight Lawns profile image

Twilight Lawns 5 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K.

Lovely hub, my friend, I think this paragraph is wortth quoting in its entirety:

"I will tell her that, for me, acting young is about always looking forward, to new experiences, new insights, new dreams and perhaps, even new disappointments. And most of all, acting young is to never let the bitterness of regrets, lost dreams and a sense that there is nothing more eat away at you until there is nothing left but an old person."

A lovely philosophy to have.


Katharella profile image

Katharella 5 years ago from Lost in America

Happy Birthday Pamela! I'm 52, and as long as I can, I'm going to be 32.. even if it hurts LOL! :) (like shopping!.. I have 2" pumps that I call my shopping shoes, that means I'm going in, getting what I want and LEAVING")lol! I wear my flats and I just might be in there awhile! (as per my last shopping hub lol) :)


wandererh profile image

wandererh 5 years ago from Singapore Author

Katharella - Way to go! However old you are, you should never let anybody tell you what you can or cannot do....although there are some things that you really can't do very well anymore. :)

nikashi_designs - I did the "just work, go home, watch TV, eat, and bed" for one year and one month a couple of years ago, and it drove me crazy. I just had to quit. For me, the week just went by so fast and before you know it, it's already next week. I have friends who do that and they do seem older than they should be, but of course, that is not to say that that's not good for everyone. But it wasn't good for me. :)


wandererh profile image

wandererh 5 years ago from Singapore Author

Pamela N Red - Happy birthday! I'm not too far away from the big five o myself so while always looking forward, I do reflect quite a bit too. :)

anidae - Me too! Somehow I really can't imagine I'm as old as I am as I feel just as young as I used to be. Hope I continue to feel the same way until the day I die. :)


nikashi_designs 5 years ago

Wandererh - Millions of people get stuck in that routine, my brother the banker. We are almost the same age, but he looks much older. Stress is a killer. But I understand people have responsibilities, and are scared to change. I know a lot of people that have zero interest, zero hobbies or passions. They just work, what is the point to live your life like that...age prematurely and regret so much.

"Happy Birthday" Pamela Hope your day goes as well as this hub.


wandererh profile image

wandererh 5 years ago from Singapore Author

Eiddwen - I really like this hub as well. It didn't turn out the way I planned it when I started writing but it seems that many people liked the way it turned out as well. :)

Twilight Lawns - Thanks. I do feel that without looking forward, and without creating new experiences and memories, life would lose its meaning. :)


Katharella profile image

Katharella 5 years ago from Lost in America

@nikashi: I know what you mean, I know someone who works for child support enforcement, and the law will only allow a certain time limit on calls. He tells me about some cases and he says it's so frustrating that he has a job he could possibly help children and the parent get the money they NEED, and if he spends too much time on a call HE gets written up! It's truly heartbreaking. It's like "Oh, here's a little help but that's it, goodbye." He has a heart condition and it makes matters worse! It's like a nurse saying "Well there's medicine for that but you can't have it" It's just wrong!

wandererh: I actually make a hub for hubs that get off topic "yakkie stuff" :) I figured that way people I knew could vent off topic things so hubs could stay on track! It's been used, but maybe I should put it on my main page or something! :)


wandererh profile image

wandererh 5 years ago from Singapore Author

nikashi_designs - I agree. Many get trapped in that cycle especially when they land a high-paying job early in their working lives. They get used to that kind of money and just can't or won't make the adjustment that quitting that job would need. And when marriage and kids come along, they are probably stuck for life. :(


nikashi_designs 5 years ago

Wandererh - The only advantage of people that are high earners is they can afford activities that they enjoy, thus feel better and younger. Once again it comes down to attitude and education. Living in New York, people are very active with free time, biking central park, walking miles, food, and social events. New Yorkers on the whole look very young. There minds are constantly bombarded with stimulation, this keeps you very young. At the same time people that live in the suburb, drive everywhere, don't have as much stimulation, tend to eat more, watch more television, and live distant from most of society. I notice that they tend to look much older than there actual age. My conclusion is looking younger than you are has to do with many factors, demographics, your up-bringing, positive attitude, brain activity, and social status. Hope that makes sense...


wandererh profile image

wandererh 5 years ago from Singapore Author

Katharella - Well, it's your hubs so I guess you can write a proper hub or vent. :)


tebo 5 years ago

Very nice hub wandererh. I agree with your sentiments and am often surprised at how old I am in reality compared to how old I think I am.


wandererh profile image

wandererh 5 years ago from Singapore Author

nikashi_designs - This is actually the first time that I have heard of New Yorkers looking young. But if you have a lot of free time, and you bike, and you walk, and generally live an active life, I guess that you have no choice but to look young. :)


nikashi_designs 5 years ago

The facts are in. People that live in Big cities are healthier, less obesity, more brain stimulants, activities. In New York City, you tend not to see horizontally challenged people, people are fit, and really look healthier. They care about the way they dress. Countless articles have been written about this, example http://missinghumanmanual.com/?p=286 Pretty interesting. Also cities with a large education background such as Boston, the city is very young and fit. This once again tells me that education and demographics contribute greatly to feeling and looking young. Really excellent discussion Wandererh.


wandererh profile image

wandererh 5 years ago from Singapore Author

tebo - Seems that we are not alone. I know I have said it before but I still can't believe how old I really am compared to how old I actually feel.


Katharella profile image

Katharella 5 years ago from Lost in America

There is SO MUCH TRUTH to this! I am from SE Michigan, where things are fast paced and, for some reason or another people are either calling (like us women lol) "let's go shopping, grab lunch, then take a walk" i.e you just walked off lunch! (after exercising the walk through the mall lol, your bodies are looking for those calories to burn, so when you eat, your body is replenished with the nutrients it was looking for, then the walk even if slowly, and even if a sit in the park, you're still getting the relief and mental stimulation that sitting alone in a rural area doesn't give you)

Don't get me wrong I love being away from the snow! lol, but being in a rural area has brought on extra lbs and actually depression I didn't suffer in the city, where there's always something to do, or someplace to go.

wandererh or your fellow hubbers can see what moving away from the big city to a small country down WITH ONE STORE did to me it's all in my "weirdo's at wal-mart" hub that I made for fun, but ended with reality! When I was out and on the go, (like the little girl in the window video- growing up in NYC and loving beautiful things) that was me until I moved to the south.. basically with nothing to do, and only when I go into town 40 miles away do I SEE a mall.. which is all of 20 stores, and risk of snakes and other creatures on walks! lol. (I love it here, but it has taken it's toll on "the REAL me.")


BlueDinosaur profile image

BlueDinosaur 5 years ago from Denver, CO

I can totally relate. I'm 43 but mentally don't feel a day older than 25 (although my body reminds me of my actual age on occasion). Time itself is a bit of a human construction (as we are mortal creatures), so if we don't obsess about our acutal age and let ourselves just exist in the moment, each one of us is as old as we want to be. Although existing in the moment isn't easy for most of us, when we can achieve it is when we are probably at our happiest and most content. Great hub...


wandererh profile image

wandererh 5 years ago from Singapore Author

nikashi_designs - Must have been in a well and missed all those articles about younger and healthier people in cities. I have always thought that people are better off away from the smoke, stress and noise of the cities. The article was very interesting, highlighting the advantages that cities hold for people. :)


wendi_w profile image

wendi_w 5 years ago from Midwest

Awesome hub, especially liked the closing sentiments.


Hello, hello, profile image

Hello, hello, 5 years ago from London, UK

I think this is the only way to survive in this world,


nikashi_designs 5 years ago

Wandererh - There is no way, one writer can think of every single angle on an article. Not to move away from the point of this hub. But, most books have researchers working, covering every possible aspect of the subject. Your article is just a trigger of thought for others to expand on.

This is the process and the point to any Great Hub. Your original hub is about not having to act your age, feeling young, in mind and body. From all the comments and post from everyone, your hub is evolving into something multi dimensional, all point of views are represented. This is no longer a hub but a discussion...

With all the facts pouring in we can now figure out what we can do to change our lives, to reverse the aging process...and "not act our age"


wandererh profile image

wandererh 5 years ago from Singapore Author

Katharella - I come from a country which, by some standards, can be considered one big city. When you drive 40 miles to town, that's the equivalent of driving from one end of the country to the other for me.

Right now, it's 1 am in the morning, but I can go shopping for groceries at Shop N Save (supermarket), or have supper at McDonald's or at the coffee shop and there's also a 7 eleven open - and it's all within a 100m of where I stay and they remain open 24 hours a day.

I brought this up because I suddenly realized the stark contrast between the rural and urban environment, and how the lifestyles are completely different, and how the rural lifestyle can be rather laid back.

But then again, when you are taking a walk in the rural area and avoiding snakes and creatures and such, doesn't that keep you on your toes as well?


wandererh profile image

wandererh 5 years ago from Singapore Author

BlueDinosaur - Yea, sometimes it is the body that's telling us to act our age and as much as I hate to admit it, might be a good idea to listen sometimes. I guess the trick is to think about what we can still do, rather than what we can no longer do. :)

wendi_w - Yep, I liked how the last paragraph turned out as well. :)

Hello, hello, - I might not agree that it's the only way to survive, but I do think that it is one of best ways to continue on and thrive in this world.


wandererh profile image

wandererh 5 years ago from Singapore Author

nikashi_designs - Just a thought but I think that those people who are visiting and reading this hub are probably those who are probably apt not to act their age.

I mean, imagine that you are a rather elderly lady or gentleman quietly living their life and acting their age. I'm sure that you are not going to be clicking on any title with even a hint that they are not supposed to act their age.

Anyway, I'm glad that this hub turned into a discussion and you put up some interesting information. I learned something new here. :)


Quilligrapher profile image

Quilligrapher 5 years ago from New York

I would love to see you write a hub with the same title as this one, except leave out the last word! Q.


wandererh profile image

wandererh 5 years ago from Singapore Author

Quilligrapher - Not sure what you actually mean. By leaving out the last word, the sentence becomes "How not to grow old". Do you mean how not to age?


Quilligrapher profile image

Quilligrapher 5 years ago from New York

Exactly. I took aim at humor and missed the target by a mile. Q.


wandererh profile image

wandererh 5 years ago from Singapore Author

Quilligrapher - Don't worry about it. Anyway, it would be an interesting hub to do. It reminds me of an idea advanced by Ray Kurzweil, I think, that if our life expectancy increases faster than our rate of aging, then we can actually live for a pretty long time. :)


Katharella profile image

Katharella 5 years ago from Lost in America

LOL Oh, I get what he's saying wandererh! Yeah how to grow old, like women want to grow old "gracefully" men want to grow old maybe.. just a different word than "gracefully" like.. grow old without the aches pains and grumbles of getting old! lol. It reminded me of my dad. He was 87 when he died, but I tell you, nothing held him back from nothing! I was even at the hospital when they told us we needed to think about the "dnr" (do not resuscitate) bracelet on. I said... "you don't know my dad, NO, he'll be coming home" She tried to insist he might not make it, I said, you watch he'll be eating food tomorrow and want a hamburger, and that's what I'm going to bring him because i took care of him 30 years I know what it takes to keep him going. She kept being in denial! Sure enough he got out of bed that night while I fell asleep, got his iv's out, got his shoes n' hat and was just getting ready to leave the hospital when the guards saw him and it took 5 nurses and the guard to get him back in bed! LOL They yelled at me for falling asleep! I'm like hey it's YOUR JOB, I'm just here because he has dementia and will feel abandoned if I'm not here! LOL I brought him a hamburger the next day when they said "he'll choke" and he gobbled it down like it was nothing! He got better quicker too and... CAME HOME! Just like I said. He died when he was ready to die. When he'd lost all muscle mass, dementia shut his body down even after the increase in meds, so he picked his day! I think that's is sort of what Q was meaning.. just "how to grow old" :)

@Q.. ah,see, ya didn't miss your humor target! wandererh might not be savvy to all English slang terms yet or something! I have plenty of friends from other countries so I understand we have a lot of ways of putting things that don't come across as humor! :)

A life expectancy increase would be a great idea for a hub wandererh. :) I'd look forward to reading it! :) (although I'll be like my dad, I'll go when I'm good and ready lol) :)


Quilligrapher profile image

Quilligrapher 5 years ago from New York

Thanks for the Klarification, Catharella. Eternal longevity and reverse aging have had a lot of coverage in literature. Can't say I find any of the scenarios very appealing. I used to say "If I can't take it with me, I'm not going!" but I realized that wasn't very practical. So, I donated everything I had to various religions. I figured if I couldn't take if with me, I would try sending it ahead.:^) Thanks for the story about your Dad.


wandererh profile image

wandererh 5 years ago from Singapore Author

Katharella - Ok, let me get this straight. When you say "to grow old", it can have one of two meanings. It can mean growing old without the usual aches and pains and all the rest of the problems associated with old age. It can also mean "to pick one's time."

Anyway, your dad sounds like someone I would like to be when I get to his age. :)


Katharella profile image

Katharella 5 years ago from Lost in America

:)

To Q: I liked the K & C mix there, cute! I think you must of heard the saying "You don't ever see a U-Haul behind a hearse?" LOL! Sounds like you're doing things how dad did. He knew his time was wearing thin there at the end, and he went ahead and gave away things to who he wanted them to have. Except my nephew didn't quite make it in time, and I was in such a state, I didn't grab the tool's dad would of wanted him to share! There's still time for that though!

Wandererh, YES, and no! Here is the difference: Women like to grow old with grace, as in, we want to use creams and such to make our skin soft, do things to prevent wrinkles (or cover them) and wear make up to enhance what bit of beauty we held in our youth!

While a man, he might be a "tiny bit" concerned about that, he still wants to look nice as in dressing nice, keeping a nice hair cut and being clean, but a man's concern is more of he wants to be able to pull a chair out for a woman and open her door for her without him being in horrible pain for a nice gesture! Then the woman is delighted when a man her age can do those things!

It doesn't necessarily mean we all get to "pick our time or day." But if your health is taken care of and (humor here):) you don't get hit by a bus:) first, then yes, it's possible to know when your time is that close. My dad took several heart medications and although he was basically healthy, when his memory medications began to not work because as we age, our brain shrinks and the vessels shrink, giving the brain less blood & oxygen supply, they were basically keeping his bodily functions working, and he knew they were shutting down and his time was drawing near. So when I got his medicines changed to liquids, and he realized they were liquid (they have most medications in liquids for little children too young to take pills,if they have the same ailment someone elderly would, like a heart problem, so they can give to the elderly who cannot swallow pills too) he began to not let me give him ANY. He would let me get him a little bit of yogurt but none with a taste because he still KNEW I could be slipping him his medications, and he didn't want that, he'd press his lips together so I couldn't give him more than something to wet his mouth! So he knew he was dying. Two nights before he was going to sleep, he kept circling his hand on his chest. I asked him "Does your chest hurt" he shook his head yes, as he'd lost the words to say "it hurts" I then knew to give him medicine for that. But I had to tell him "this isn't your heart medicine, it will stop the pain" So he let me drop it under his tongue but that is where he was used to putting his nitrostat pills. (Nitrostat, stops angina-angina means chest pains due to heart pains if you didn't know that already)

I stayed with him until I seen him drift off to sleep and stayed there for a bit to make sure he was ok and slept on the sofa in the room next to him. But yes, he went peacefully in his sleep, but stopping his own medications that were beginning to fail.

I hope you are as lucky to pick that time wandererh, not everyone is. :)


wandererh profile image

wandererh 5 years ago from Singapore Author

Katharella - I'm not sure that I want to live old enough so that a woman my age would be delighted that I can actually still perform such a feat when I pull out a chair for her. And you are right. Guys are much more interested in remaining functional rather aesthetically pleasing as we age. :)

I do wonder that, if given a choice, whether I would prefer to choose my time, or have it happen suddenly. Having to choose my time would imply that I would probably be very old and very frail and life as I know it right now would be but a distant memory. It might actually be more attractive to have it happen suddenly - I would be happily answering one of your comments and suddenly, I get hit by a meteorite, and I end up in another place. Might be a hub in there somewhere. :)


DRG Da Real Grinc profile image

DRG Da Real Grinc 5 years ago from All over the USA

Great writer, liking what you did here.


wandererh profile image

wandererh 5 years ago from Singapore Author

DRG Da Real Grinc - Thanks! But I think what I just did was to put in words what many of us are already thinking. :)


Katharella profile image

Katharella 5 years ago from Lost in America

Hi Wandererh, well, you might be in luck as far as there being a hub in here somewhere! I was reading the forum, and that is actually a topic they seem to be looking for!

Why don't you go to the forum and look into it! Hey you've already got a step in the right direction, and if you win, there's extra money in your account! So, go read the rules, (which are right on this topic of men growing old gracefullY) and you already have a start! Click "Forum" at the top and it's the very first subject! :)

I hope you do one, and I'll certainly vote for you, especially since you thought of it first! :) GET BUSY :) :)


wandererh profile image

wandererh 5 years ago from Singapore Author

Errr....me? In a competition? With other writers? With other GOOD writers? Who actually know what they are doing? I just broke out in a cold sweat and got reminded of the days when I had to take examinations. It was stressful!

Nevertheless, since my one ardent supporter has suggested it, I will go and take a look. I hope that they will at least let me through the door. :)


Katharella profile image

Katharella 5 years ago from Lost in America

LOL! haha... the young you just broke into a cold sweat, the "age older" but not older, :) you, just went off to look for the rules! I think you stand an excellent chance! After all, you're staying you and still looking forward to not stepping off the side of the planet! haha... :) Thanks for the smile there wandererh (David) :) you got all it takes and you would most definitely have my vote! (And you haven't even written it yet, don't forget to put their "Weekly Topic" photo at the top and go back to alert them, so you'll get more votes! Hey, you thought of it first, I think you already own it! :D


wandererh profile image

wandererh 5 years ago from Singapore Author

I checked and the topic is "Do you think that women over the age of 60 can be attractive and sexy?" so I'm not sure if I can say much about that. I'm deciding to pass this time but I will check back and maybe one day, there will be something right up my alley. And I'll be sure to let you know so that I will get at least one vote. :)


weestro profile image

weestro 5 years ago from Virginia

Great hub, I will take your words of wisdom to heart!


wandererh profile image

wandererh 5 years ago from Singapore Author

weestro - You flatter me. I think I just put in words what many are already thinking in their heads. :)

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