Weekly Thought Archives > Older, But Never Old

Older, But Never Old

Fred finished well.  His mental, emotional, and spiritual disciplines overcame physical immobility.  One of his favorite illustrations was the young man with severe limitations who sat on the front row as Fred spoke.  Afterwards, he said, "I have disabilities, but they don't have me." 

One of Fred's best-loved Leadership Journal articles was titled, "Older, But Never Old"  These timely and timely principles bear repeating in this excerpted section on the benefits of aging from this classic piece.

SeniorPathways magazine features one of Fred's articles in its Kentuckiana Edition Spring/Summer 2012 edition, page 22, Positively Puzzling.  For online access, visit http://spm.epubxp.com/issue/66780

Older, But Never Old

When I heard a friend call himself old for the first time he was seventy-six.  I was offended.  It's a serious problem when people start thinking of themselves as old because they've accepted that categorization.  It begins feeling like a holding pattern.  They are starting to coast to the finish line.

Older is a fact, but old is an unhealthy attitude.

I think it is important to look at some of the benefits of getting older:

1) Selective tension - Older people are usually tense over important things, not over everything.  As we age we shouldn't lose tension, but should apply it selectively.  Getting older means we should be able to allocate tension to the important instead of the trivial.

2) Clarified values - Who we are influences our happiness much more than what we have.  One concern is our eagerness to pass on values, but need to do it in a way that is received.  We can't expect younger ones to accept our values with the same certainty we have gained over a lifetime.

3)  Experience - Experience turns knowledge into wisdom.  Experience, like faith, is a teacher, but faith keeps us from bearing the scars of willful experiences.  Wise experiences should direct us to the wisdom of "this is the way, walk ye in it.

4)  Increased excitement - As the years get shorter, the excitement of fully utilizing them can be a great motivator.  Just like reaching the 400 mile marker while driving the Indianapolis 500, the last 100 are exciting because they are the reason you drove the first 400.  Aging is like that.

5) Tested relationships - As we grow older, relationships mature. We begin laughing   about the things that caused us tears.  I used to tell Mary Alice, "the things we cry about today we'll laugh about tomorrow."   We discover what is important and what is not; we know which friendships will hold and which ones will always be tentative.

6) Death is part of life - Whatever I have known to now has been fragmentary and transient.  The great hope of heaven is that I will know the full truth.  I think it's important as we go through life to create thirsts only death can satisfy.  For example, the thirst for truth, for God, for immortality, and renewing relationships who have gone ahead.

This week carefully consider: 1) Who do I know who is getting older but not old? 2) What lesssons can I learn about aging? 3) Where am I showing my age?

Words of Wisdom: "Older is a fact; old is an unhealthy attitude."

Wisdom from the Word: "The glory of young men is their strength; and the splendor of old men is gray hair." (Proverbs 20: 29  NET Bible)