Let’s try to emulate Bob Dylan: ‘Ah, but I was so much older then, I'm younger than that now’

·2 min read

Let's face it, we are all ageless. Hypothetically, let's say you had a sudden case of amnesia. The first question you were asked was, "How old are you?" What would you say? I bet it would not be your chronological age.

You might be off by 10 years! We have certainly lived a measurable number of years, but I would wager that most of us do not identify with that number.

Francis Bacon, who was born in England in 1561, said: "I will never be an old man. To me, old age is always 15 years older than I am." Since the average life expectancy was 40 years and he lived to be 65, maybe his attitude added years to his life.

My kids are now in their 40s and 50s. I remember thinking when my mother turned 50 that she was old. Today, I'm thinking that 85 might be considered old. But at the same time, my older sister is 85, and she appears mentally and physically to be in her early 70s.

There might be days that we feel older than we are. Of course, illness may take the wind out of our sails. Certain challenges may cause us to lose confidence in our abilities and make us feel old. It happens to me when I run into a technological problem.

Nothing like my computer to make me feel inadequate! I am stymied by problems that the average 12-year-old could fix in a heartbeat! But when I do persevere and solve the problem, it takes 20 years off my life.

The whole idea of age boxes us in. My suggestion is, forget it. Ideas like a 55+ community living and retiring at 65 are such random concepts. I can guarantee that the average age of residents in a 55+ community is over 70.

Did you know that air traffic controllers have a mandatory retirement age of 56? I'm sure there are good reasons for that. Still, that regulation implies that something happens on that birthday that disqualifies you from the job.

We tell bad jokes about getting old. We throw over-the-hill birthday parties for a 50-year-old. We measure people's productivity by their age. I say we are all ageless. You are what you believe about your life.

Are you busy, engaged, having fun? Are you curious, constantly learning new things and willing to change? I'm with Bob Dylan, whose lyrics in “My Back Pages” say it best, "Ah, but I was so much older then, I'm younger than that now."

Pablo Picasso reiterated the same thing, "It takes a long time to become young."

Find Connie’s book, “Daily Cures: Wisdom for Healthy Aging,” at www.justnowoldenough.com.

This article originally appeared on Topeka Capital-Journal: We can all be a little bit more like Bob Dylan when it comes to aging

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