Listen to what you say about yourself!
Stop using your age, for example, as an excuse that prevents you from becoming and doing what is on-purpose or what is most important in your life. Age is a fact. It comes with certain physical realities—even some limitations—but why give it greater permission than it deserves to control the well-being of your life?
You get to choose your attitude about age.
BABY BOOMER & GEN X ALERT: Do not read unless you are prepared to face reality.
MILLENNIALS: Scroll down
Judith, my wife, and I offer health coaching services that help clients create a healthier, on-purpose lifestyle. Being overweight contributes to many diseases and conditions such as type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure.
Too many of our pre-clients subscribe to the “getting old” excuse to “rationalize” unhealthy choices versus accepting responsibility and actually doing something about it.
We can’t turn back the hands of time, but we don’t need to speed up the biological clock either.
The onset of aging is inevitable, even desirable considering the alternative. Edward Bulwer-Lytton‘s quotation about aging captures the essence of the choices about growing older: “It is not by the gray of the hair that one knows the age of the heart.”
Are You Maturing or Just Getting Old? is the title of a prior On-Purpose Minute. In it, viewers were confronted with a choice to mature or simply grow old. In a slightly different twist, I pose the question again: Are you resigned to your condition or will you accept responsibility?
Frankly, your “old age” excuses are getting old.
Avoid letting the measure of life be your years on the planet. It matters not whether we’re talking your health, career, attitude, finances, or whatever. You are in greater control than your age is. Don’t let hardening of your attitude be your downfall when you can harken new possibilities into being. Embrace the changing dynamics and adventures that come with time. Rather than running from them, run to them.
When chronology defines you, then the impersonal march of time becomes your master. Instead, reject the “I’m getting old” excuse and toss out the devil of your premature personal demise on his big fat red tail.
Stop willingly accepting age as an excuse for infirmities of many makings. It is one thing to age gracefully, quite another to employ it as a rationale for self-inflicted infirmities of the mind, body, and spirit. Age is a measure of a life in years, not a life sentence.
Let’s Retire Retirement
The age of retirement, even the concept of “the age of retirement,” is an artificial construct by the government or a company. Admittedly, for many it is a very important finish line in a long and productive career. And that’s all it is!
- How might your thinking be different if the age of retirement were 80 years old instead of 65?
- What if you had to be 70+ instead of 50+ to get an AARP or AMAC card?
- Would you take better care of yourself?
- Would you dream different dreams?
- Would you invest your time differently?
Did you know that the two highest risks of mortality are birth and retirement? So, you got past the first one. Now what’s your thinking about the second highest risk factor? After traditional retirement there begins an 18-month time frame of high mortality for workers. There’s a profound link between health and the loss of feeling needed or useful.
What benefits are there to succumb to these artificial ages and deadlines?
You—the independent thinker and aspiring leader—have you bought into the cultural norm and fallen prey to the group think?
Resist the lies surrounding the age of retirement as being life-defining and health-declining. Yes, circumstances and conditions change, but your spirit and purpose are forever.
Millennial Alert, Too!
Age is not just an excuse of the senior citizens; it influences youth as well.
Excuses such as “I’m too young for anyone to take me seriously,” or “Hey, you’re only young once, so I might as well get drunk tonight,” are self-deceiving ploys often unwittingly designed to put off the inevitable maturation process of becoming a man or woman of fine character.
The “age of the heart” is timeless.
Baby boomer, Millennial, or Gen X: Choose to carry a youthful spirit, attitude, perspective, and activity in your heart regardless of the condition of your physical shell. Choose to mature into wisdom, leadership, grace, empathy, service, compassion, and well-being. That choice comes at any age. We’re blessed with the Great Generation because those who remain generally personify positive and productive choice. Think that’s a clue?
Purpose is a matter of the heart.
Explore your heart’s condition and you’ll more likely embrace the depth of your being and discover just how miraculously and wonderfully made you are and can be. You’ll also live a longer, healthier, and more meaningful life. There’s a reason why I autograph my books with “Be On-Purpose!” I want to remind you to be who you truly are and the best version of you possible.
Give yourself the gift of a joyful life by rejecting your old excuses and choose to be on-purpose.
Update: This On-Purpose Minute originally aired in March of 2011.
At that time I did start working out with Anne on the stadium steps at our local high school and got back into great shape. The point is that while age and aging is a reality—if we’re using age as an excuse—we must stop and take a hard look whether we’re painting with too broad of a brush. Stop using age, any age, as an excuse and be real about what’s really going on.
Update 2: Anne was home recently and invited me to go run the stadium steps. Game on! It had been some time, but I did 2 sets of stadium steps, felt my leg burns, and discovered what I already knew: I still have it … but not nearly as much of it! : ) I need to get back in better shape.