: Age is Just a Number

Fitting in Health – Age is Just a Number <w/o photos

English: George Burns

George Burns

“Biologically I am old, but I don’t feel old.” — former yoga student of mine

However, many people use age as a reason, a judgment, a way of being, to become settled, and they react to this figment, rather than taking action.  “Age” is perceived to be a limitation rather than an invitation.  Appreciate what is possible, because appreciation opens up opportunities, and enthusiasm to learn more follows suit.

Pippin (musical)

‘It’s time to start livin’.  Time to take a little from this world we’re given.  Time to take time, cause Spring will turn to Fall, in just no time at all.'” — Berthe, “No Time At All” from Pippin

I work with and around many people in a wide age range, in a spectrum of preconditions, with a variety of backgrounds.  “Age” seems to be the reason for the negative view of living, and what happens before “old” set in was the positive.  Consider a wider understanding of foods and exercise, a greater openness to love at all ages, advancements of science, and the acknowledgment of how the overall quality of life is the true fountain of youth.

“None are so old as those who have outlived enthusiasm.” — Henry David Thoreau

English: Henry David Thoreau, photograph taken...

Henry David Thoreau

If your body has “aged” which prevents you from doing things, then do what you can with what you have.  If you begin to compare yourself to others, your stress, anxiety, frustration, worry, and self-doubts increase.  If you are unhappy with where you are, it’s because your present is a result of your past, however you can transform and change your path, no matter your age.  We get older as soon as we are born, but our souls never age.

“Just remember, when you’re over the hill, you begin to pick up speed.” — Charles M. Schulz

"Self Art" (fivecentsplease.org)

“Self Art” (fivecentsplease.org)

I used to teach a yoga class at a corporate gym, at most 10 people took this class, and the age ranged from late 20s to late 40s.  One woman in her mid 40s askedme to “pump it up more”, meaning more challenging poses, holding them longer, moving faster, etc… while a man in his late 20s asked me to “tone it down”.   Why?  Because the man had knee issues.  The woman was more athletic.  Even though the man rode his bike everywhere – he had knee issues because he was hit by a car.  Age is just a number.   You might think that this example is a special, unique one, but it is not.  Another example can show that someone who is fit at 65 years of age can do more physically (which connects to more liveliness and happiness) than an overweight 25 year old person.  Age isn’t a factor.  Would the biker accuse his bad knees for age?  Would the overweight person blame his immobility and medications on his age?  I can also use the example of someone in their late 80s who is super flexible compared to someone the same age with hip and lower back issues.

images

Billie Burke as “Glinda, the Good Witch” in “Wizard of Oz”

“Age is something that does not matter, unless you are a cheese.” — Billie Burke

I hear often the phrases: “you’re still a kid”, “when I was your age”, “yeah but you’re young so obviously you’re able to do that”, and “you’re young so you have more time to do that”.  People usually assume I’m about ten years younger at face-value.  The assumptions and statements, although aimed at me or others may seem empowering to the speaker, may also possibly limit the speaker, giving them credence to be “less than”.  In recent years, stories have been exploding around in the news and Facebook that people in their 70s and even 80s beating the odds of weight gain, disease, and mobility, and outliving their preconceived age range.

“Some are old at 18 and some are young at 90… Time is a concept that humans created.” — Yoko Ono

Ernestine Shephard (allvoices.com)

Ernestine Shephard (allvoices.com)

Ernestine Shephard is 74 years old, and she is also a competitive bodybuilder, grandma, and recently listed by the Guiness Book of World Records.  She says her husband of 54 years says that “he has trouble keeping guys away from her.”  Bit Risner, a jazz trumpet player and founder of the band, “Juvenocracy”, plays in the most prestigious jazz festivals in the world… She is 12 years old.   Anything is possible at any age.

Jazz Juvenocracy (jazzjuvenocracy.com)

Jazz Juvenocracy (jazzjuvenocracy.com)

“I will never be an old man.  To me, old age is always 15 years older than I am.” — Francis Bacon

As I prefaced earlier, many people do or do not “look” like their age, “act” their age, or dress their age.  But what does that mean exactly?  What has become the average guideline, or norm, to which we base these statistics on?  More importantly, how does that affect the way we treat ourselves, experience living, or act towards others in order to meet that age’s criteria?  How often are we judged or find ourselves judging someone based on the assumption of age?  Where along the line of history did the behavior policy become to look down upon those who are younger than us, or pity those who are senior citizens or at least deemed “old”?  When has it become accepted to push someone aside, outside of a conversation, or ignoring them, because of their “age worth”?  Age is just a number.  On the set of “E.T.”, director Steven Spielberg is famously known for not talking down to his young actors, but speaking to them to face-to-face, and treating them as equals alongside their fellow adult actors.  We are all here, in different stages of our lives, and how we advance is to follow our own vision, and to allow each other, no matter who it is on whatever stage they’re on, to follow their own.

Woody Allen

Woody Allen

“You can love to be a hundred, if you give up all the things that make you want to live to be a hundred.” — Woody Allen

So how does this topic fit into “Fitting in Health”? Do something now.  Fit it in. Why wait? Change your actions and beliefs now.  Look at who you are not how old you are.  You are what you think, and you are what you think of others.  If you judge others by their age, your judgments will limit your relationships.  If you find yourself surrounded by people of an age different than yourself and question why you are there, and question why they are there, and fall into the trap of judgment and doubt, then acceptance is out the window.    Letting go of the “age” and accepting what is, is a challenge.  If you aren’t sure how to do this, ask for help or speak to someone you normally wouldn’t.  Learn to drop judgments.  Even though George Burns smoked every day of his life, he lived to be a hundred years old; he was passionate about living, loving, and performing, and that trifecta kept him young at heart.

Here are 25 suggestions to let go of the views of “age”:

  1. Try new things. 
  2. Notice when fear stops you in your tracks. 
  3. Notice when judgment of someone else stops you from being with them fully.
  4. Move more.
  5. Sit less.
  6. Argue less.
  7. Go somewhere new.
  8. Exercise.
  9. Smile more.
  10. Travel.
  11. Change your career.
  12. Help others.
  13. Do something you’ve always wanted to do.
  14. Hug.
  15. Listen (to someone older or younger).
  16. Adopt an animal.
  17. Meet new people.
  18. Dance.
  19. Breathe deeper.
  20. Eat healthier.
  21. Wear a different style of clothes.
  22. Don’t wait until tomorrow.
  23. Limit your sugar intake (including soda).
  24. Create.
  25. Remember that age is just a number.
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