What a great quote from Satchel Paige and I must give credit to my cousin Cindy; she thought it would be an interesting blog topic and I agree. The week of my birthday is a great time to explore such a question regarding age and the affect a cumulative number has upon us.
How does the awareness of our age change how you feel? Does it enrich our days or bring fear and dread as we keep rolling down the tracks of our lives? Does the inevitability of the number climbing upward stop us from pursuing our passions or does it propel us into action knowing the clock is ticking? Have you ever said to yourself I am too old to … start a new company, take up skydiving, find a new love or renew an old one, volunteer or take on a new exciting project?
How old would you be if you didn’t know your age?
I think about my age on one day a year, my birthday. If you ask me my age at any other time I would need to think about it before answering or if caught off guard blurt out some age much younger than I am. It is not from vanity, I like my age. Age like any number of other things we obsess about doesn’t really occupy space in my day; I need that space for far more fun subjects. Having exciting topics to write about or amazing books to read, so many things that I love to do takes up a massive amount of space in my mind and leaves no room for “today I am yet another day older”, although I must admit when my birthday rolls around it seems like that year went quicker than some of the very long days during that year.
I know there are people who focus so much attention on their age that it defines their future. Still others simply get about doing and never think about their age.
Which are you?
I agree it is easier when you are younger to not worry about a number since you are usually busy with career and family and that number is not yet to a point that you can easily point to examples, people who you know, family and friends who are no longer with us, people the same age as you.
I have always had a picture in my mind of my life’s path. I will share my thoughts and maybe you can use the analogy too. I view my life as constant creation, like laying train tracks. I began years ago visually laying track across the beautiful landscape of the world. I do make sure to look up often to verify that I am still headed in the direction I eventually want to end up. I remind myself time and again to enjoy the beauty all around me. I do need to constantly adjust my thoughts taking into account the roughness of the terrain I find myself building upon and rest often so that I am strong and ready to keep building.
Of course I am aware that the train is right behind me rolling down the track. But I never let it change the pace of my building or the direction I choose to build in. If I spend my time looking back to see how just how close that train is getting or hurry my pace the closer it comes to me it would only serve to slow my progress and distract me from enjoying where I am right now.
There are so many people who spend their lives laying track, never looking up, hurrying to finish those tracks believing that when they are all laid that will be the moment I can slow down and enjoy my life. Those are the people when asked how old would you be if you didn’t know how old you are, always feel older than their actual age.
I think back to people I know who built the track and then stopped when they got to where they thought it should end, believing that they had done enough. They did not fare as well. They seemed to show their age and by the time the track was complete, they were weary of life; losing interest in things they had all along planned to do. All those plans they made for someday while they were toiling, head down, moving at a frantic pace to get their tracks complete. As John Lennon said “life is what happens when you’re busy planning everything else”.
I think that the answer is to have many interesting subjects to think about. I know of all my family members and friends, the ones whose heads are filled with ideas to try and exciting things to do, they are the ones who don’t dwell on their number. They would never spend time looking back at all the miles of track they have laid or looked at each day of building those tracks as a chore to complete, but simply see it as a work in progress. Even when they had much work left to be done, they just keep building. Those are the people who have remained much younger than their years and when asked will tell you it’s not the numbers of years in a lifetime but the number of days that you really lived!