Tag Archives: aging

I Refuse To Act My Age

I’m 57 years old and 60 is fast approaching.  I was recently told that I don’t act my age when I showed someone a home obstacle course/jungle gym I’m building.  This was meant as a good hearted rebuke, but I take it as an affirmation.  I freely admit I don’t act may age because I’m not convinced that age is a limitation.

There are plenty of people in their 60s, 70s, 80s and beyond who don’t “act their age”.  Daniela Barnea, 73, recently won three gold medals in swimming.   Jacinto Bonilla at 77 competes in CrossFit and even had a WOD named after him.  Paul Tetrick, 85, has won more than 12 USA Cycling Time Trial Championships.  A quick online search will turn up so many “seasoned” athletes it will make your head spin!

Growing older is inevitable barring illness or injury.  To my knowledge there is no law that says we have to grow old in our spirits, though.  Certainly there is nothing that mandates allowing our bodies to fall apart from disuse or misuse.  I honestly do not see myself growing old with anything approaching complacency.  As Dylan Thomas wrote “Do not go gentle into that good night, Old age should burn and rave at close of day; Rage, rage against the dying of the light.” I plan to go down kicking and screaming until I draw my final breath!

It’s almost finished!

Why Age Gracefully?

Having recently turned 52, my attention has lately been focused on aging and related health and fitness issues. In fact at a friend’s suggestion I started a new Facebook page on the subject, Post 50 Fitness. And yes, that was a shameless plug.

What’s odd to me is that I never really thought of myself as being old.   i still don’t!  Certainly, there have been days when I have had to deal with arthritic knees or more recently gout (hopefully my one and only time!)  but those were in the same pile of issues in my mind as allergies, stepping on a nail (not so hypothetical)  or the flu. They were just things that happened.  I dealt with them, and moved on.

I’ve read about some amazing people in my research, including runners in their 80s, swimmers in their 70s, surfers in their 60s, and lots of “vintage people” who just plain decided to get on with the business of living despite, or in spite of, their ages. On the other hand, I see people all around who view getting older as an excuse for not even trying.  I just don’t see why we’ve come to view getting older as a disability.   It should be the opposite, since we should have had time enough to accumulate some wisdom and to figure out that being old isn’t the same thing as being finished!

Admittedly, there are geriatric issues for some, but most people can at least get out and walk!  There also are specialized aquatics and stretching programs for seniors.  If you start taking care of yourself in your 50s (or 40s, or earlier) and stick with it many of the ailments we associate with aging can be delayed or altogether prevented.  The benefits of regular exercise are not only improved physical health but improved mental health as well, such as slowing or preventing dementia.  How much more incentive do we need as a culture to tear down our misconceptions on aging?

Age gracefully? Heck no, I’m going kicking and screaming every step of the way!

A cool looking older man stands near the ocean, his surfboard under his arm.

It’s never too late to get fit!