You're Getting Old! (Lessons from a 95-year-old!)


You're getting old. So am I.
Should we give up?


I have a friend who is 95 years old. 

She (still) runs her business, drives her car, travels domestically and abroad, plays golf, and her memory beats mine. 

Recently, she told me that she's been having difficulties since she turned 95; namely, her ankles are getting a bit swollen. So she's taking a medication that is known to have some side-affects. But she doesn't care. She always had skinny ankles, and she wants to keep her skinny ankles. 

I want to be like her when I grow up. 

I've told her this many times.

What's her secret?  

1. She lives in the now. 

"Getting old" or dying isn't something she dwells on. It's inevitable, so why bother wasting life worrying about it?

2. She keeps on moving until there is "move" in her. 

Body at rest dies, and so she keeps moving. She swims weekly. She walks a couple of miles every day, and when it's cold, she "does her stairs"—that is, she walks up and down the stairs in her house. 

3. She does not change what she does only because of her age. 

From travel to reading to socializing to work, she does the things she enjoys. She did these same things when she was 60 and 30.

She hasn't changed her priorities because she grew older. 

She's simply living.

In our society, there are too many expectations of what it means to be getting older, and when one's time is up. 

Think of the retirement conversations and myths; you'll work until you're 65, retire and enjoy yourself for a few years, and then, well, the unspoken happens. (And no one talks about the boredom and meaninglessness that often plagues many retired people.)

3. My friend understands that all of this is in our heads. So she chooses wisely.

Regardless of her age, physical state, or even genealogy (her parents died young), she's determined not to worry, and live instead. She keeps things in perspective, does not get too attached or worked up over things, and is just making the most of each day. 

As for me, as chronological age passes, I sometimes wonder whether I've done enough and what if I don't do enough and then I die? What about my wrinkles or the gray hair?

Thinking about getting old triggers anxiety of the future, too; what happens when I get old and sick?  

But when I think of my 95-year-old friend, I am reminded that whether getting old bothers me or not, it's not going to change one single thing ... except steal the time I could have used for living! 

None of us knows our expiration date, but we get to decide our attitude and what things mean to us before that day.

And as long as the heart beats and other things "work," age does not matter! 

Adi Redzic