How Not To Grow Old Gracefully
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.