I celebrated my 39th birthday earlier this week – thank you, thank you, hold the applause. It has kicked off quite a few interesting discussions with friends and family about the subject of age, so much so that I felt inspired to write about it in my blog.
Turning 39 meant that I was reminded several times I am now in the last year of my thirties. Funnily enough, it doesn’t bother me. If you had mentioned that to me a few years ago I probably would have freaked out, yet I’ve reached a point where it’s not a big deal anymore, as have many people I know. Personally, I feel no different today at 39 than I did last week at 38.
When you’re a kid, age defines nearly everything you do. One of my nephews, who is 11, reminds us all that he is nearly 11-and-a-half, which means he is six months closer to being able to watch MA rated television programs that his older brothers can watch. He can’t wait to grow up. I keep telling him to slow down, to enjoy every day as it comes, however he just looks at me like I’m mad and asks how long it is until Christmas.
I remember those days well. The rush to grow up, to be mature, to no longer be treated like a kid. I couldn’t wait to turn 18 so that I could go out to bars and clubs with friends, so I got myself a fake ID and went out when I was 17. By the time I was legal at 18, the novelty had already worn off. By my mid-20’s I was over it completely and now I would rather rip my own arm off than go out to a bar or club. My priorities are different now. They’re not better or worse than different priorities like partying and clubbing; they’re just a reflection of my changed focus. In short, they are what they are. I’ve been called a ‘grandpa’ for choosing my doona over dancing, for selecting shots of coffee over shots of tequila, for nominating to have a night on Netflix instead of a night on the tiles. And I’m OK with that. My choices are my choices. Your choices are your choices.
In talking with older relatives, it’s interesting to see different perspectives on age. Most have stopped counting, most treat their birthday as just another day, and most embrace the notion that you’re only as old as you feel. Keeping yourself active, creative, mentally stimulated and feeling a sense of purpose are key to not feeling ‘old’ – sure, you might look like a shrivelled-up raisin on the outside, yet if you work to sharpen your mind and you keep on keeping on then you’re on your way to eternal youth.
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