Things I Do #12: I never say that I'm old

I never speak about myself in terms of getting old. 

It's a common refrain. A colleague's knee is sore. His back hurts. A friend can't instantly recall a name or a place. A actor or musician who you adored as a teenage passes away. A younger cousin describes a dating scene that is entirely foreign and incomprehensible to you. 

So often, the response to these moments is some form of the phrase, "I'm getting old."

I never say these words. Never ever.

I believe in positive self talk. I believe in a spirit of optimism. I believe that they way we think about ourselves will dictate how we act and feel and move through this world.   

I believe that the first real step to getting old is to beginning to think of yourself as old. As soon as you say those words - even in jest - you begin to accept those words as truth. From there, the decline commences. 

You feel old. You attribute ever sore muscle and every cognitive hiccup as a sign of old age. You start to play the role of an older person. You do less. You risk less. You slow down. You stop trying new things. You dreams become finite. 

Never say that you're getting old. Don't accept or embrace that notion. We all know people who are 60 or 70 or even 80 who seem to possess more energy and enthusiasm as someone half their age. I have friends who are well into their 60's and 70's who I think of as my age because of the youthful way they live their lives.  

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I also know people who are 40 or 50 whose lives have already ground to a halt. They whine. They complain. They view their circumstances as fixed and unchangeable. Their days roll into one another with little variation or distinction. They have become creatures of routine and inaction.

It's an old adage that age is a mindset, but I believe it. I'm 46 years old, but in my mind, I'm the same person in terms of energy, enthusiasm, and mental prowess as I was when I was 26. In my mind, the only thing that has significantly changed in the past 20 years is my hairline.

I don't feel old. I don't even feel older. Truly.  

I think part of this mindset is the enormous amount of positive self talk in which I engage, coupled with the avoidance of pessimism and negativity. It’s estimated that you say 300 to 1000 words to yourself per minute. That's an astounding amount of feedback and reinforcement that you are receiving every day. 

How you choose to speak to yourself makes a real difference.

What you say about yourself to yourself can dramatically alter the way that you feel and act and move through this world. I believe this.   

I don't say that I'm old. I don't even say that I'm older.

Never ever.