I think there’s a difference between getting older and getting old. Some people I know were old in their twenties. Others I know are in their eighties and aren’t anywhere near old. Getting old isn’t about the music you listen to, your clothing style, the slang you use or the views you hold. It’s about how you hold them. We can all remember taking ourselves WAY too seriously as teenagers. Every decision was a life-or-death matter, the world was on fire and everything had to happen RIGHT NOW, DAMMIT. Whatever decision we made was unquestionably the best and wisest course of action and it was our final answer…including the completely different answer we gave to the same question ten minutes later. Remember how you felt if anyone dared question or challenge your decisions? The same mindset seems to characterize adults who get old.
It’s a complete lack of real flexibility.Getting older is part of the natural course of life and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with it. In fact, I like it. I’m a damn fine specimen for my age (or so I tell myself), I have nearly unlimited access to navigate a truly fascinating world and I have the resources to learn whatever subject sparks my curiosity. Sure, I wake up some mornings with weird twinges that feel like a Shaolin monk had me in some strange joint lock the whole time I was sleeping. But overall, it’s a sweet deal.
The biggest differences for me are remaining truly flexible and not taking myself too seriously. Taking in new information, listening to new music, understanding new terminology, taking the occasional fashion risk and jumping into new experiences with not only the possibility but the desire to be challenged and changed by them. I know what I think, but I also know that I can be wrong and I’ve long since let go of the need to be right about everything.
On the whole, I’ll freely admit that I’ve probably made more stupid decisions than wise ones. That fact alone keeps me from taking myself too seriously. I generally have my act together, but I don’t have every “i” dotted or every “t” crossed and that leaves lots of room for my innate dumbassery to make things really interesting. I wouldn’t want it any other way either. Part of the magic of living is bouncing off a few walls and learning as you go. I’m sure I’ll do way more stupid things that I’ll shake my head at later, but I look forward to them. At this point in my life, I know how to pre-game and I have bail money. Good enough for me. Let’s ride.