The Younger Person Inside Screaming to Get Out

The Younger Person Inside Screaming to Get Out

Have you ever looked at how your thoughts about aging have changed as you have gotten older? For most of us, our thoughts are significantly different than they were at any previous time in our lives.

Think back to when you were very young. Didn’t you always want to be older? It may have been just to be able to stay up and watch tv shows that came on after your bed time.  It may have been your friends could stay up later and you wanted to be like them.

As teenagers, most of us could hardly wait until we were old enough to drive.  When we were able to drive, we would not be restricted in doing what we wanted.  We wouldn’t have to rely on people to take us somewhere we wanted to go. We could drive ourselves anywhere just about at any time.

At 18 or 19, most guys could hardly wait until they were 21 so they could drink alcohol legally. That was a milestone age and it couldn’t come quickly enough.

Change Started When We Went Out on Our Own

When we left home and started our own families, the concept of aging changed for most of us. We suddenly started realizing older people were not respected in this country.

Most people in their 50’s and 60’s were looked down upon.  There were many jokes about them. Comedians made fun of them.  There were even movies showing how they were disrespected.

As they got closer to retirement, they were respected less.  After retirement, many were cast aside. They were no longer respected. Younger people had no use for them and didn’t want to have anything to do with them.  They wanted them to move into senior communities or nursing homes separate from everyone else.

This caused major problems for us as we started to grow older.

We Dreaded Major Birthdays!

Milestone birthdays caused problems for some of us.  Some dreaded their 30th birthday, for others it was their 40th and for others, it was their 50th.  Why? Because we looked at each of these as a sign we were getting old. Pretty soon younger people were going to be casting us aside, too.

We Keep Pushing Back What It Means to be Old

When we were in our 20’s, those in their 40’s and 50’s seemed old.  When we reached our 40’s, 60’s was old.  Now that we are 60 plus, 80 to 90 is old.

As the years passed by, another change was going on.  We started feeling younger than we actually were.  In our 40’s, we felt like we were in our 30’s.  When we reached 65 and beyond, many of us felt like we were in our 40’s.

You may recall Jack Palance.  He was an actor who appeared in the movie, City Slickers.  In 1992, Jack received an Oscar of his performance in that movie. At the time, he was 73 years old.  When he got on stage to accept his Oscar, Jack dropped down to the floor and did several one-armed push-ups.

Most viewers made fun of him – an old man doing push-ups. I believe Jack wanted to make a statement for all people.  Even though he was 73, he was to be cast aside as being too old. He still had a lot of life in him.

Let Me Ask You – When Does Old Age Start?

I believe old age is a matter of perception.  it varies from person to person.  Some people in their 40’s can feel really old.  Others in their 80’s may feel they haven’t reached that point yet.

Several weeks ago, I was watching a video.  In it, there was an 86 year-old man who was quite active. At one point in the video, he commented he was on the downward side of the mountain. If you think about that, he had a unique way of talking about his age. He didn’t say he was old. He was just saying he was past the prime of his life.

Right then, he became one of my idols. When I celebrate my 86th birthday, I want to be just as lively as him.

As you go about your daily activities, you may find some people call you old or laugh at you because of your age.  Don’t accept that unless you agree with them.  If you disagree with them, remember at a certain point in the future they will be as old as you are now. However, they may not feel as young at that point as you feel now.


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