My body, and likely my mind, is getting old. I was reminded of this on a recent trip where there was much mounting and dismounting of a rather tall vehicle as we visited multiple wineries in Oregon. Possibly the many wine tastings had a slight influence also.
Every time that I am reminded that I am no longer 35 by an event or my wife, I also realize that my mentality is still that of a 35-year old. It isn’t that I have not matured, it is that my attitude is in control of my feelings and emotions. I realize that getting old and being old are not the same situation.
Getting old causes us to realize that we are not as, well, anything as we used to be. We begin to notice unusual pains, creaks, mental fog and weariness. Getting old is a slow process of realization, acceptance and complacency. Acceptance that all things are inevitable and that there is little to be done to prevent and alter the path one is on. The path leads toward old and the eventual demise.
Getting old is in fact an unavoidable path, and for most people much better than the alternative. Even the most fit of you is already on that path. Unless science comes up with some miraculous cure for getting old, you are on your way.
Being old is relatively avoidable. Being old is a choice. Being old is an attitude and attitude is a choice. The late Stephen Covey in “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People” states that we have response ability. That is we have the ability to respond how we choose to respond to all things, people and situations. If your response to getting old is that you are old, then you are. If your response is that you are not so old, then you will not be.
Attitude can make us happy or unhappy, successful or unsuccessful, not so old or old. Attitude can even minimize aches and pains. Attitude molds who we are, what we are and how others perceive us.
Attitude determines how others perceive us because we control how we present ourselves. You have probably heard me say that if perception is reality, and presentation controls perception, then presentation is everything. Whether we realize it or not, our attitude is on our sleeve for all to see and is evident in how we present ourselves and thus, how others perceive us.
Often, when I tell people my age, they express a genuine surprise because I don’t really act my age, even though I do look it. My attitude is that of a younger, maybe less wise, much better looking individual. I tell people that I don’t mind being old because it justifies me looking as I do.
So why am I bothering you with this stuff? I am suggesting that even though we are all on the path toward old age, how we deal with that and life in general is entirely up to each individual. You can choose to respond in a negative way or in a positive way. You can go ahead and get old or you can choose to embrace your enhanced wisdom, the greater respect given to you and your newly found freedom to act crazy.
Wake up every morning determined to have a great day. Perform an attitude check as soon as possible when you awake. Don’t be among those who spend their day looking to be offended or antagonized. Find good and pleasure in everything possible. Your attitude is in fact your choice.
I know that I rambled, however, that is one of the benefits of age. People accept and sometimes listen to old people’s ramblings. Also, sometimes there is wisdom in those ramblings. (Not the case here, I’m just trying to meet a commitment to write something.) Actually my wonderful wife, Ruth, doesn’t mind my ramblings. As the James Gang song says, she just turns her pretty head and walks away.
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