Act your age. Never!

Act your age. Never!

Have you ever met someone and you can’t believe their age either they are much younger than you thought or much older? I am not talking simply about the way someone looks but by their energy, the way they talk about themselves, the activities they are involved with or what they are doing with their life.

When I think of myself, in my head I feel like a 25 years old. I love to ride my bike, like I did when I was a kid, go to Dave & Busters and play games, and visit Six Flags to ride the roller coaster, front seat of course! My body will remind me that I’m not 25 when I overdo it with sports, too much exercise, or don’t get enough rest.  But I don’t let my age affect the things I try, the adventures I take, or what fun I have. I still stay very active.  Over that past six months, I have hiked weekly with a local meetup group with intense hikers who are 5, 10, 20+ years older than me. With this group, I am hiking 6, 8, and 14 mile advance hikes, the longest and most difficult hikes I have ever accomplished in my life. It always surprises me that younger people are not involved with this group because we go to some amazing places.

The person who comes to mind that never acted his age is my late grandpa, Malcom. My grandpa died unexpectedly around the age of 76 due to complications of surgery but even up until the day before his open-heart surgery where he passed away, he was full of life.  My grandpa still flirted with my grandma Betty (his wife of 40+ Year), took care of his yard work including mowing, and found ways to have fun in life like jumping on a trampling. Each year he and my grandma would take one of the grandchildren on a road trip around the US, it was so much fun! Although he looked his age, he didn’t act it and his energy seemed that of a much younger man.   

Another example of someone who didn’t act her age is a 90-year-old woman in one of my Reformer Pilates classes. One day the 90-year-old woman left class and drove her car into a tree in the Pilates studio parking lot, she’s okay but it led to her losing her license. Pilates means so much to her that now, she has friends and neighbors drive her to class so she can stay fit and maintain her self-sufficiency for as long as possible. She believes Pilates is keeping her out of a nursing home. I know woman in their 30’s who couldn’t or wouldn’t do a Pilates Reformer class.  

Last summer, I was at my sister’s wedding where I met her new mother-in-law, let’s call her Mary.  Mary was younger than my grandma Betty but when you looked at these two ladies side-by-side, you would guess that Betty, my grandma, was 10+ years younger than, Mary, my sister’s mother-in-law. It was shocking how differently they carried themselves, dressed, and acted. Mary looked very frail, couldn’t walk steady, walked hunched over, and dressed in clothes you’d image an 80+ woman would wear. Betty, my grandma, could walk fine, was dressed in a trendy blue lace dress, and was able to socialize with many people for a couple of hours.

I also hear people blame age for why they are no longer as fit as they’d like. Now don’t get me wrong, I do believe as you get older, you must be diligent regarding what you eat and how much you exercise but that doesn’t mean you can’t be fit at 45, 55, or 65+. A male friend of mine is 57 and retired. He is in better shape now than he was over the past 10 years because he takes hikes in the mountains, runs on the beach, and maintains a somewhat healthy diet.

I do know with age are bodies do change and there are things we can’t do anymore but most of the time, it is our mindset and beliefs that keep us from doing things. How old do you feel? How old would your friends and family think you act? How old would you like to feel? Now I’m not advocating that everyone starts acting like a five-year-old throwing a tantrum if you don’t get a lollipop but what I am asking you to think about is, does your age hinder you from doing things? Do you use the phrase “I’m too old for that”? What is something you haven’t done because of your age? What makes you happy? What is something new you’d like to experience if you didn’t let your age hold you back? What items haven’t you checked off your bucket list?

Of all the people, I have met who appear younger than they are and keep having life adventures, the common thread I have noticed is they chose to feel younger than they are, have a young mindset, and they do not hold the beliefs of what they are “supposed” to do at a certain age. You can choose to feel young, be active, and do the things that made you happy as a kid, it starts with your thoughts, not your body.  What is something that you’ve been missing because of your age?


Tamara Small

Happiness Now