“May you stay forever young
Forever young, forever young
May you stay forever young.
May your hands always be busy
May your feet always be swift
May you have a strong foundation
When the winds of changes shift
May your heart always be joyful
And may your song always be sung.”
I am not sure Boomers are still believing that promise, the wishful thinking of those lyrics sung to us back in the the mid ‘70’s by Bob Dylan.
Instead we may have already noticed those early, first warning tell tale signs of aging. That light bulb going off that says,
“Hello, you are looking generally less attractive (older).” Or, “You are feeling more worn out and tired (older).” Or “You’re thinking inflexibly and fearfully (older).”
Maybe the first sign we are aging was when we looked in the mirror and noticed on our face or neck significant age lines, or the sagging of once taut muscles, the spreading bulges, the receding hair line. Maybe it was the comments from people we hadn’t seen in awhile who wanted us to know they thought we looked “tired”.
Or perhaps we became aware, especially if we happened to be graced with good looks our whole life, we were no longer turning heads. In fact people on the street barely noticed our existence, when once we drew much attention.
Or, it could have been the first day our mail box yielded AARP’s unsolicited invitation to become a member. We had just turned 50 when the American Association of Retired People found us. What was this about? At only age 50 we may have automatically rejected being a part of such an organization designated for the aging population.
What then should we do this acknowledgment was are not forever young? Just surrender? Give in? Accept that fact that we are getting close to being called seniors? This has pretty much been the thinking and the attitude reflected by previous aging populations.
And what does aging gracefully mean anyway? Do we give in or do we put up a good fight, aggressively chasing after every product or surgery or procedure on the market, promising us they have the key to anti-aging? That buzz word, “anti-aging”, does get our attention. The advertising world has seized the phrase and is doing everything possible to convince us no way do we have to age, if only we purchase what they have to sell.
Do we now actually want to deny, or try to ignore, the latter part of our lives? Is it possible that we may embrace this other stage of life which is just up ahead and moving closer?
What then is “pro-aging”?
No one tells us, so I shall try. The answer, I believe, lies in taking charge, becoming pro-active, doing everything we can to take good care of our minds, our bodies and our spirits. In means continuing to expand and to grow, become life long learners, and especially to love and accept our selves, as well as others, as we are.
How old are you? That is all too common and annoying question regularly posed to us. Before we answer, we need to recognize and honor the three ages each of us has. That’s right, the experts have named three. But we tend to think only of our chronological age and put ourselves in that confining, defining box.
Of equal importance in determining how old we really are is our physical age. How old do we look; how old do we feel ; how healthy are we inside our body and in our mind? If we have abused our bodies with relentless stress or a poor diet or no exercise, then this will supersede our birth date and indicate our “real age”.
Beyond these two markers of the chronological and physical ages, we must include our emotional age. Are we grown up?
As an example, we can be age 60, having been born in 1950, but our physical age might be 70, and our emotional age might be equal to an adolescent.
Being physically younger means we need to take charge of our bodies by nourishing them with healthy food and taking supplements (since hardly one is getting the needed nutrients they need from food alone). We need to exercise regularly by stretching, strengthening and aerobicizing. We need to address the stress and do something about it.
Can we stay young forever? The fountain of youth may be a myth but if we can remain open and flexible in our bodies and in our minds, then we may well be forever young.