Last night at an alumni gathering from my college, something became very clear to me: I am NOT ready to be old yet. Don’t get me wrong—I know how old I am. I’m just not ready to act it yet. After being around my contemporaries for several hours, I came home thoroughly depressed. Maybe it was all the white hair and wrinkly skin around me. Maybe it was observing others struggle to find words, or the way they ate their food cautiously, or the clothes they wore. Perhaps it was the resignation in their eyes and voices, but whatever it was, it wasn’t for me.
Right now, my Inbox is inundated with articles entitled, “How to Fight Aging.” Are you kidding me? You can’t fight aging. That’s like shadow boxing. It happens in spite of yourself and all your many machinations to keep it at bay. Recently, I even stopped buying Oil of Olay “age defying” lotion. Why? Because it’s an expensive cream guaranteed to make my skin look younger, and in the last 20 years has not removed one single DAY from either my life OR my skin!
This week, AARP magazine’s cover story was, “50 ways to Live Longer!” It was the usual, ‘exercise and eat your vegetables,’ routine that everyone spouts. Now, if following those 50 things makes you feel better, then go for it. As for me? I plan to drive with the windows down, the music pumping and sing at the top of my lungs. I will continue to start conversations with complete strangers. If music is playing, whether at the supermarket or in an elevator, I’ll be dancing. In short: I plan to live while I’m still alive.
Here are the top 4 things I vow NOT to do:
- Say things like, “My memory must be slipping.”
- Discuss my bodily functions or the pills that I take.
- Complain about my aches and pains.
- Stop dancing!
Last week, my aunt turned 79. When I asked her how she was dealing with almost being 80, she laughed. “It is what it is,” she replied matter-of-factly. “Aging is just part of life. It happens. You go with it.” Now that’s advice worth following.