How To Age Without Getting Old
How to Age Without Getting Old
Aging is inevitable but getting old is a decision. It’s the decision to stop.
Stop being curious.
Getting old is getting set in your ways. It’s losing your patience with the world.
If you continue to wake up every morning you will age, but if you wake up and cultivate an attitude of curiosity and wonder, you never have to get old.
Here are seven tips for how to age without getting old.
Keep Up With Technology:
One sure sign you’re getting old is when you start complaining about technology.
Instead of complaining, try to use that complain-y energy to learn it. Even if it takes a while and you feel you’ll never get it, find a patient person who will teach you. Tip: You can learn how to do just about anything on YouTube. Type in what you want to learn and you will find a twelve-year-old with a backward baseball cap who will teach you.
The important thing is not to become intellectually flabby. If it’s hard for you, learn how to do it anyway. I’m not talking theoretical physics here, I’m talking spreadsheets, or Instagram reels, or how to self-check at the grocery store. Remember when you couldn’t tie your shoes? It’s like that. Don’t default to velcro. Learn to tie.
Don’t Be a Know-It-All
The worst thing you can be is a know-it-all. Nobody likes that. So even if you think you know a lot simply by virtue of having lived a long time, pretend you don’t.
For example, when you see someone making the same mistake(s) you made when you were their age, don’t give them advice. Instead, smile at them with kind eyes. Ask them a thoughtful question. But by all means, resist the urge to tell them they are about to make a terrible mistake.
Let them make the mistake. They won’t believe your situation applies to them, anyway. They need to find out for themselves.
Don’t Be An Absent-Minded Professor
It might seem endearing to play a daffy, absent-minded person, but it’s usually just a lame way of trying to cover up your age-related decline in cognitive skills.
Instead, when you find yourself forgetting something, try to be kind and patient with yourself. If you can’t think of a word or a concept right away, just say, “I can’t think of the word right now, but it will come to me.” Then text that person at two in the morning, in all caps: “HEDONIC ADAPTATION! That’s the concept I was trying to think of!!” They might not appreciate the disruption of their REM sleep, but you’ll feel a lot better.
Keep an Open Mind
It is probably best not to hold on too tightly to any beliefs. Decide how you want to live your life and then just live it. Let other people live their own way without criticizing them.
It is a trap of aging to become deeply entrenched in one’s worldview and opinions and then criticize others who don’t share those views.
I think what is required is to take a soft and forgiving attitude toward others. Don’t indict them; just let them be. Let them be the way they are. And try to love them.
I have a hard time with this. I often want to change people, but I know I never will. Not in a million years. Realizing this is the beginning of wisdom and the key to deep happiness.
Don’t Be A Sour Puss.
Be kind. But also happy. Don’t grow sour. I think there are people who grow old and sour. They become sourpusses. For them, the glass is not only half-empty, it’s cracked.
Also, as we age our faces naturally default to resting bitch-face. It’s not that we are grouchy or bitchy, it’s simply that our collagen is letting us down. But even though gravity is having its way with us, we are not helpless in the face of it. Every time you think of it, consciously turn the corners of your mouth up a bit. You could also practice this by holding a pencil in your mouth when you’re reading or doing computer work. It’ll train your facial muscles to go up, not down. Don’t worry if you’re smiling a bit all the time. You won’t look like a grinning ninny, you’ll just look pleasant.
Don’t Live On Your Past Triumphs
It is probably best not to have a need to be seen as somebody important. If you have lived a while, you’ve probably done something good, or even important in your life. However, it’s best not to keep reminding people of that good and important thing. If they bring it up, that’s fine, just thank them and buy them a coffee. Then ask them about their life.
Don’t Tell People How Old You Are
Unless they ask. Acknowledge your chronological age when it is relevant, but any over-concern with it seems pointless. It’s uncontrollable, and it is really the least interesting thing about you. More interesting is how emotionally intelligent you are, or how much energy or kindness you possess.
The other day I passed a bulletin board that said:
The bad news is that time flies. The good news is that you’re the pilot.
I liked that. If I am piloting my life it means I’m the one making the decisions and not simply relying on the autopilot of my conditioning.
It’s pretty thrilling to know that I’m the one who gets to decide where I want to go, how fast, and by what route. I get to steer my own life.
This recognition puts a smile on my resting bitchy face every morning. Where will I go today? What will I learn? Who will I meet?
Then, because I am alive, I get to go. I get to live. And life is good.