For Those Who Think Young

Last night I was chatting with a woman who just celebrated her 80th birthday with a fabulous party.  She is in good health, lives in her own home, drives her own car, and dresses with modern style.

She told  me: “When my kids started planning this party, I said, ‘I’m not old.’  I’m glad they did it now, because I was really able to enjoy it.  And you know, I don’t feel old.”

Now, depending on your own age and the company you keep, you are either thinking, “Eighty?  That’s ancient!” or “Eighty?  That’s a kid!”  As a Lutheran pastor in a rural setting, I think of eighty as the very beginning of “old”.  (Pro Tip: I don’t go around telling this to octagenarians.  Not that there’s anything wrong with being old, right?)

But as they say, you’re as old as you feel.  I have known some spry and lively nonagenarians and some cranky and curmudgeonly thirty-year-olds.  Your age doesn’t change who you are.

Then there is my dad, who turns 68 next week.  As you know if you’ve been reading this blog for a while, he was diagnosed with kidney cancer last fall, had a big surgery, and then had heart trouble.  (His heart rate was too fast, and now it’s too slow.  My dad is a cardiac Goldilocks.)  He doesn’t have any symptoms right now, so his doctors are just monitoring that and the cancer.  But he feels so good, and is so ecstatic that he feels so good, that none of this worries him too much.  So in his case, you’re as well as you feel.

So in honor of eighty-year-olds who don’t feel old and sixty-eight-year-olds who forget they  have cancer because they feel so good, please enjoy this Pepsi commercial from the 1960s:

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6 Comments

Filed under All in the Family, Thankful Hearts

6 responses to “For Those Who Think Young

  1. Oh, I loved this essay and I totally agree! My grandmother is quite, erm, elderly by her own definition. (Her saying for many years was: “I may be old, but I’m not elderly!”) (Her age is almost beyond nonagenarian, not to put too fine a point on it.)

    There are some studies out now that show one’s innate outlook about age can affect everything from one’s good interpersonal relationships to one’s health (to a certain degree).

    I did not know that your father has been going through such serious health troubles. (And I am your faithful reader! How did I miss this?) To think that his outlook has in any way cushioned the way he deals with the difficulties and fears involved with sudden illness– gives me a great deal of hope.

    Thank you so much for this today. I adore the young at heart of all ages, and I love the fact that you’ve written about those who are young at heart with such sweetness and thoughtfulness.

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    • Thanks, Bluebird! Is this the lady recliner grandmother? That sounds like something she might say.

      Well, I haven’t written a lot about my dad, and not much recently, partly because I don’t want to talk about my dad’s illness all the time but mostly because he really does feel so well. We are a hopeful family, I think!

      Thank you so much for your comments–I really appreciate them!

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      • Ah, I understand why you might not write about your father or his experience right now– my personal take on certain family and friend details is that it is not my story to tell, you know? I just thought I missed some crucial information that you had mentioned somewhere. (I miss things all the time without meaning to miss them.)

        Yes, this is the lady recliner grandmother. I only have one grandmother, and she’s got enough personality for a squadron of grandmothers.

        Given your hopefulness, I am not surprised to hear that your family is hopeful by nature. Hopefulness is amazing. It’s a trait I love, and one in which place a great deal of emotional and intellectual faith.

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  2. And please do not drink any! It was the beginning of the ploy to make us fat, sick, and crotchety at young ages. 😉

    I recently spent hours and hours with elderly people as my mom lost her battle with cancer at age 89ys 10 1/2mo. We were planning her 90th birthday bash and for a while thought she would make it. Through all that I met people who were old at 30 and young vibrant folks in triple digits.

    Age is a state of mind, not the number of years. Every day is a gift. Choose to enjoy it. 😀

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    • Good point, SL! I am a big diet soda fan myself. It’s bad. Maybe I will try giving it up for Lent again this year . . .

      I’m sorry about your mom. I’m glad you got to meet some vibrant 100-year-olds (and up, it sounds like). They can be pretty amazing!

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  3. Pingback: Chicago! | Never Done It That Way Before

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