Wednesday. Fandango’s Provocative Question once again. This week, he asks:
How old are you* and how old do you feel — older or younger than your actual chronological age? Do you generally act your age? And what does “acting your age” mean to you?
For me, none of this is about age, it is about health. There is a link, though, between age and health, just because our health tends to deteriorate as we age. None of us will live forever.
Health is the trigger, just because we meander through life. As a teen, we think we’re indestructable, and that feeling lasts for years.
And then something happens which causes us to realise that we are not indestructable. People get cancer, or have a heart attack or a stroke, and so on. And the event just focusses people to think about death. The funny thing, when you do think about death, it is actually quite a calming process. That’s not to say anybody invites death, but we don’t actually fear it. I find it’s normally quite easy to spot the difference between those who have gone through that reconciliation process and those who haven’t – little words here and there make the difference. Although mostly, people don’t go anywhere near that deep.
But why would we think about death when we’ve been strong and healthy our whole life? I speak to several seventy-somethings who have been strong and healthy their entire lives, so why would they necessarily think about death, although they are advancing in years [i.e. a lot more advanced than I am]?
I don’t think ill-health particularly changes our outlooks on life, though. I have a 95-year-old client who has all sorts of aches and pains but who says she still thinks exactly the same now as she did when she was a teen. I’d go along with that. Sure, I know more about things, in particular the stroke has offered a steep learning curve, but how I see the world is not substantially different, now from then.
So, all this nonsense is a roundabout way of getting to his questions. Answers directed at nobody in particular.
How old are you and how old do you feel — older or younger than your actual chronological age?
I’m 52. I feel like I’m a teenager, except my body lets me down.
Do you generally act your age?
How many disabled people aged 52 do you know? With reduced mobility, I’m kinda obliged to act how I act, it’s not as if I can choose to act one way or another. If that equates to old for you, so be it. I am pig-headed and will do absolutely everything I can for myself.
And what does “acting your age” mean to you?
Nothing. If you can, go for it. Just be careful. Remember that a lot of falls admitted to hospital are people who own things like walking sticks, but who don’t use ’em. Let’s be careful out there!