I have had this question in my ideas folder for a long time. Doug and I had a weekend away last summer and while walking along a lazy river we passed a couple going the other way and this was the question we heard them say. If you didn’t know how you were, how old do you think you would be.
This has been sitting a long time because I have had several blogs written, in my mind, but none of them were even close to how deep this question could potentially be. We seem to think that the years that we have spent on earth is our actual age. When you think of celebrities and athletes, their chronological age seems to be something that society has decided that we want to know. As if knowing how many years that they have been alive actually matters to the things that they have achieved. Stop and think about it, when the news, entertainment reporters, even friends and family all put an age with an achievement. I am not sure why this matters but it just seems to. Well at least to ‘those’ people.
So, I asked myself that very question. How old am I? Not how many years I have been on this planet? Not how many birthdays I have had. But, how old am I? I know people that I have no idea how old they are. I have a guess, but I really don’t know. Part of that is that they don’t behave the way a person of “that” age should behave. Part of that is that they seem to look ageless. Part of that is that their appearance and their attitude don’t match. You know who I mean. Sometimes a full grown man is acting like he’s a teenager. Sometimes, though, it is someone who seems to act like they are already preparing for a senior’s home and you know they are at least 30 years away from considering that.
I had an uncle that nobody really knew how old he was until he passed away and everyone asked how old he was. His age was a mystery because he was always on the go. He always had so much energy and he rarely complained about physical ailments. Sure, sometimes he was a grumpy old man, but as he would tell you “ at this age I can do what I want” and you just couldn’t argue with him. But we never really knew what ‘that’ age was.
There is a lesson there. Does it really matter what our chronological age is? If you are 17 and killing it in the pursuit of your dream, good for you. If you are being downsized from the place you have worked for years, is it really too late to start over? If you want to try something new, who cares how old you are? If you feel young at heart and full of energy, should somebody else tell you what to do and when to do it?
As I think about this question I think there are some basic questions to ask yourself.
- How old does my body feel?
- Do I have energy? How much?
- How excited am I for each day?
- Am I still eager to learn?
- Do I still yearn to try new things?
- Am I happy?
- How often do I laugh?
- When was the last time I laughed?
- When was the last time somebody asked my age?
- How old are the people I like to spend time with?
- How old are the people I actually spend time with?
- At what age did I feel my best?
- Does my age actually matter?
Whether you are 50 or 15 does it really matter if you are still pursuing your dreams?
Better a poor but wise youth than an old but foolish king who no longer knows how to heed a warning.
Ecclesiastes 4:13New International Version (NIV)