aging · being · growing old · musings

Act Your Age

One of my favorite bloggers, who writes honestly and insightfully about aging, recently noted we glorify older people who are active, those who at 70 or 80 are romping around like 40 year olds.

As a society we want old folks to not act like ‘old folks’, but instead run, dive, explore, walk, bike, swim, live as though our bodies aren’t slowing down, our joints aren’t aching, and we don’t have to get up multiple times during the night for a bathroom visit. That’s the only thing we are quick to do.

What happened to the idea that getting up in years means we can relax, not rush? We can now read multiple books, visit friends, live a less demanding life.

Thankfully I’m in good health, remain mobile, and most days I’m fairly alert. I stay too busy, ignoring the murmurs from my limbs and psyche to just be in the moment.

A little voice deep inside me sends status updates, alerting me to ‘get up and do something’.

“You can’t just sit around all day playing games on your computer,” it whispers. “Your dog needs to be walked, people will think you’re lazy, your body will petrify.”

Truth is, the dog doesn’t want to do his business in public, preferring the privacy of his own yard. People don’t give a hoot about what I do all day, just as I spend less than a tenth of a second wondering if you are out of bed, watching soap operas, or wandering around your house wishing dust mites would do their job and dust more.

When, if not now, can we do what we want to do, which may be nothing? When is the right time to sit and remember? When is it okay to play in adult ways as we did when we were kids?

Activity is prized, leaving us void of meditative time. When our days are filled with ‘doing’, we miss reflecting and simply ‘being’.

Aging is a gift we are given to spend as we want.

Shut up whispering voice that sounds like my mother!

I’m old enough to do or not do whatever I want, and it’s about time!

22 thoughts on “Act Your Age

  1. A great rebuttal on the flip side of an active lifestyle.

    I think the reality is somewhere in-between. Even those of us who are chasing adventures at every opportunity, value the ‘nothing’ time … the afternoons watching Netflix, reading a book, or just staring at the trees being tossed by the wind.

    The best line was “aging is a gift we are given to spend as we want.” Amen to that!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I so agree with you Margo.
    Occasionally, I do absolutely nothing except watch TV, and then I feel guilty for being lazy.

    Other days are filled with non-stop household chores, and then I feel smug at what I’ve achieved. Some days are spent out and about generally exploring and enjoying what I see, and then I feel fulfilled.
    On another I might sit at my computer for the whole of the day; I have to remind myself to get up now and again and have a stretch and walk about. I never feel guilty when at the computer.

    My late husband never wanted me to take a job insisting that he took care of me and I didn’t need to, but I did it anyway and I loved every moment of it, but do you know what, I think I enjoy retirement even more! I don’t have to answer to anyone, I can please myself.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. If not now, when? Why is it so hard to give ourselves permission to just to be, to relax, to enjoy simple pleasures. Those damn voices in our head! Thanks for another opportunity to reflect.


  4. The words you speak – “I’m old enough to do or not do whatever I want, and it’s about time!” – I am finally learning to accept. The older I grow, the more I prize my quiet, my solitude, my ability to eat, sleep, read, play games, laundry, housework, all of it, as and when I want. I have fought the old WASP guilt devils for years, and I think I am finally winning. I now can give myself the right to spend a day in my robe, if I wish, to ignore makeup for my face, to accept that my chemo-thinned hair is never going to be what it was and so be it, and just be me. Who I am. Not here to get your approval or disapproval. Well, most of the time. Although I really should exercise more. . .

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  5. I don’t know that I’m ever going to reach a point In my life when I act my age, but I’m now content to do whatever I choose to do in the comfort of my own home. I enjoy my own antics, and give myself a good laugh performing them, no longer feeling I have to please or entertain or prove that I’ve still got it to anyone but myself.

    When called for, I have skills, and keep them sharp, but rarely feel the need or am asked to put them on display. Long before I reached my mid-sixties, I planned to retire in my own version of style, which is doing what I prefer to do on any given day. Just Being your highest & best self, at your own pace, is a beautiful thing!

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  6. Getting older sets us up for a time when we “can” slow down and finally enjoy the things of life we were not so attuned to. Even our body knows it is a new chapter in and life-long book, that we are at the right age to change.

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  7. I often wonder how, a couple short years ago, I managed a full time job, a big house, and an active social life. Now retired, I rarely plan more than one “thing” a day, and I delight in the rest of the time being mine, to fill or squander as I like. It’s a wonderful life now! Yes you and I totally and finally deserve it!!

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  8. It’s marvellous that you relish this new phase and are loving your do -nothing moments. Mine seem to last from noon to 3pm at the very least. It’s hard to get used to, but I’m starting to see the upside!

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    1. Rachel, as you know, nature abhors a vacuum so your time begins to fill up, possibly with activities you aren’t interested in. So I find it important to make certain I carve out time to ‘do nothing’, allowing myself what is considered ‘loafing’ time. I love it.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I’m always attracted to writers like you who are self aware. That means I learn something about myself. I think, am I like that? Yes and no. My preferred state is to have one project too many on the go so I feel that pressure. On the other hand I’ve a always been skilled in the arcane art of doing nothing. Welcome to the club.

        Liked by 1 person

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