On Turning 40-Something

When are you old? I remember being a kid in Shul and seeing some of the “old people” in the Shul with white hair and thinking, wow, those people are old. Then, as I grew up a bit, and looked at those same people from the vantage point  of a 30-something-year-old, and thinking wow, those people are really old. Realizing, that when I thought they were old as a child, they may have looked old to me, but they were clearly not that old. Which exacerbates my question?

When are you old?

So when do you get old? When your hair starts or turns white? Uh oh, in that case I am in trouble. That started a few years ago and has only picked up speed. My children will often point out more whites on my head or beard, or comment as I krechtz (groan), when I will get up after sitting in the same position for a while, that, oh man, you are really old.

Now, I know that I am not old. Based on average life expectancy, I am barely middle aged. So what does it mean to be old? Are you old when you slow down in certain areas? Are you old when you can no longer run those 4 miles in under 10 minutes a mile? Are you older when your body starts getting older? Or is there more to the the term “old” than the bodily experience?

If I have good genes, and my hair stays jet black until I am 70, and I am in good physical health and I can run marathons in my 80’s, does that mean I am forever young?

My step mother often says a good line. What is the opposite of old? And everyone answers, young! Then she carefully corrects them and says, nope. The opposite of old is new.

That my friends is the answer!

You are old when you stop becoming new. When you stop being creative, stop being open to new ideas and things. When you will no longer exit your comfort zone to grow as a person, thinker, doer etc. When you are no longer willing to be new at something, introduce something new into your life, then you become old.

There are some very biologically old people who I know who are still reinventing themselves and in this way, they are still young and energetic, full of life and vigor.

On the flip side, there are many younger people who have stopped growing. They are completely at peace with where they are at. Financially, socially, spiritually and behaviorally. They do seem to be at ease. Free of worry and angst. They don’t fret, as they are in a state of tranquility, but still, they are old. They may be young in their years, and young in their body, but they are old in their being, as they refuse to be new.

So, as I continue deeper into my 40’s and more whites start appearing, I still sweat the small stuff, I still spend too much time worrying about things that I know at this point I have no power to control. I am frustrated that at this point in my life I am still not mature enough to have surpassed many of these things. However, there is one thing I do know for sure, I am not old. I am still trying new things. I am not sitting and calmly smoking a pipe on my rocking chair. There too many more mountains to conquer, to many new things I need to do or at least try.

So, no matter my age, I am definitely still not old.

L’chayim to never being old.

Blog 25/52 – Picture Credits – Clip art

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