What age is old? When I was twenty I thought my mother at forty-five was old. By the time I was thirty-five and my parents were in their sixties I considered them old. Now, I am in my fifties. Sixty is not that far off and I no longer consider sixty old. Time has definitely changed my perspective on age.

Age is made up of two numbers – a physical number and a mental number. You cannot alter your physical age. Growing old is a normal, natural part of life that cannot be avoided. The aging process is accompanied by increased wisdom, experience and self-acceptance.  Growing old can also be characterized by frailty, illness, pain, loneliness and an inability to work or afford even the basics of life. These negative effects can be reduced by exercising, eating healthy food, having a solid social network and supportive family. In the end, we all grow older every day and the only way to stop this process is to die.

The second number is mental. This number is individual and influenced by our actions.  My body is old but my mind is still young. When I started running at 48 my family thought I was nuts – my twin told me that I should act my age! This is the attitude of someone who is old by fifty. When you believe that you are too old to try something new then you have accepted being old.  There are many things I want to do over the next few years such as travel, start a company, run a marathon, and set new goals. My twin, on the other hand, is waiting for retirement. I see myself as the young twin and my brother as the old one.

Age has given me experience, memories, and wisdom. I have learned many lessons. I won’t repeat the follies of youth – the gaffes, the mistakes, the misjudgments, the acts that have hurt others, or the ones I cannot be proud of. Things that mattered a lot in my youth no longer do. My priorities are clearer, my friendships are more distinct, and my life is more rewarding.

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