Change you thoughts…Change your age!

Published on May 28, 2011


How old would you be if you didn't know how old you were? ~Satchel Paige

Age is an issue of mind over matter.  If you don't mind, it doesn't matter. ~Mark Twain

“Age is a state of mind.”
“You are only as old as you feel.”
“With age comes wisdom.”

So how old is “old?” That is the big question. If you are only as old as you feel, then how can you be any older than you are today? You have never been older so you can’t possibly know what being older “feels” like.

What you DO know is how you “think” older “feels.”

How can one project what it feels like to be older than they are?

Great question!

Let’s explore this a bit more.

Each of us creates a story in our mind about old age. We create stories in our mind about everything in the future actually. For now, however, let’s just discuss age. Based on my life experiences, observations of others, teachings from mentors, and even my attentiveness to fiction such as movies, television, books, and advertisements, I have created a set of beliefs about aging.  We will call this set of beliefs my “programming” about what it means to be “old.”

Not unlike a computer that is programmed to run an application, my brain is programmed to carry out the story I create in my mind and the story I create in my mind is based on my programming.

“Old” to me is a matter of putting together the various people and situations I have observed, experienced, or otherwise learned about from the time I was born until now. Consider for instance how your definition of “old” has changed over the years. When you were a teenager, you likely believed your parents to be old and your grandparents were really old. If you now have teenagers or young adults as I do, your definition of old is likely to be slightly altered, yes? So, suffice it to say that our definitions of things change as we continue to experience life and  make new observations.

I love the definitions of “old” in the dictionary....

Having lived for a long time;
no longer young;
having the characteristics or showing the signs of age

Well... that really helped, right? Ha!

So how do you explain to a 6 year old what it is for one to be “old?” I can tell you ... you point to  some poor lady or man in the grocery store who is wrinkled, grey haired, and slightly hunched over and you say quietly to them, “See her, she is “old.” Or you say, “Well, grandma is old” or “Grandpa is old” or “Aunt margaret is old.” The child then formulates their own belief about old based on the people you point out to them.

We learned from a very young age about “old” by comparing ourselves with others. Our official belief about being “old” is when we get to the point in our lives where we “look” like or “act” like the people we ID’d as old... then WE are officially OLD!

When someone at age 30 dies, we say, “they were too young to die.” When someone 10 years old dies, we say, “They were way too young to die.”

At what age do you quit saying, “They were too young to die?” That is a good gauge of what you think is “old.”

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