Relative aging

Do you feel old? You have been told, “You are as old as you feel,” or “Age is of no importance unless you’re a cheese.” So, what is your attitude about your current age? Since we can’t do anything about our age, it’s attitudes that influence how we live our lives. We often find outside influences that give us perspective. Music is one of those outlets that impact us and are often filled with wisdom. Consider a recording I recently came across titled, “Don’t Let the Old Man In,” by Toby Keith. The story goes that Keith was playing golf with Clint Eastwood, who mentioned he would be turning 88 the following day. Keith asked him what he planned to do and Eastwood replied, “Shoot a movie.”

As the conversation went on, Eastwood stated that his outlook in life is to not let the old man in. Keith penned a song, from which I excerpted for this writing. It can be found in its entirety on YouTube; Willie Nelson also recorded it and it’s an apt song for him as well.

Don’t let the old man in, I wanna leave this alone

Can’t leave it up to him, he’s knocking on my door

And I knew all of my life, that someday it would end

Get up and go outside, don’t let the old man in

Many moons I have lived

My body’s weathered and worn

Ask yourself how old you’d be

If you didn’t know the day you were born

Written by Toby Keith

That last phrase is the one that really grabs attention. Think about it a bit. “Tests” abound that can show your relative age, due to lifestyle, and your actual age, determined by a calendar. Much of our “age” is determined right between our ears — in the mind. Old is an attitude. If Eastwood had an old attitude, he surely wouldn’t have started a movie at 88. That shows you are never too old to learn — or to teach or direct. He does all of these things with his movies. No one told him he was too old to achieve his goals; he just did it. Maybe he is a Pollyanna, who looks at the positive side of things. There is nothing wrong with that.

You can be pigeon-holed by your birthday. Baby Boomers, over 71 million of us, are now alive in our country. These individuals came into the world between the years of 1946 and 1964. Gen Xers were born during 1965 to 1980 and there are 6 million fewer of them than Baby Boomers in the U.S. Individuals born from 1981 to 1996 are referred to as Gen Y or Millennials. Numbering 72 million of them, slightly more than Baby Boomers, gives them a population edge. The last alphabet listing is Gen Z. With 68 million in that age group, born between 1997 and 2015.

It’s all in your perception. What matters most is how you “see” yourself, eyes open or not.

Peggy Sanders


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