Monday, August 7, 2017
I can't even say the number. In a few months, I leave my fifties. Forever. And enter uncharted waters. All year I've been agonizing over this passage. I haven't mentioned my dread to anyone because it's that serious. Existential.
My fear is not simply growing older but, more importantly, losing the opportunity to be young. Active, adventurous, animated. I don't want to give that up for a dreary future of early dinners, AARP and cultural irrelevance. I don't want to be a sexagenarian.
When I was 39, I faced a similar situation. I feared 40 meant the end of my youth. After deliberation I reacted to the event positively: I took stock of my life, fixed what was wrong and steered toward happiness. It's not a coincidence that that is when I started riding motorcycles, a passion which has enriched my life for twenty years.
What bothers me about turning... um... the next number is its common association with old age. Senior discounts, retirement, Medicare... I'm not ready for that. I want to continue my exploits, not slow down.
I plan to do that. And my sustained efforts to maintain vitality over the past decade are paying off. I feel physically fitter than I did ten years ago. Since 2010 I've made vast strides moving toward a more authentic life. I added several good friends and deepened my personal connection to everyone I care about. I even squirreled away some money with smart investments. In short, I've made good choices and their benefits will be reaped in the future. So what am I worried about?
I suppose my fear is foolish; the thing that needs to change is my outlook. Society won't define my future; I will. As long as I remain curious, eager and open to life, I can live my way and that will be satisfying.
Have you ever worried about your age? How'd you handle it?