Sta Hungry Stay Foolish

Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.

A blog by Leon Oudejans

Growing old – part 2

15 December 2015


Quite recently I congratulated someone with her birthday. She is my age (55). She replied by saying: “At this age, I wish that I could turn back the clock, but thanks anyway.” I said to her: “Really ?? I do not have that wish at all at 55.” Her reply came as a surprise: That’s because you are not a woman.” I asked her: “Age is only a female thing?” She said: “You haven’t experienced what I have experienced with the men on this site. The older men prefer the younger women in many cases. They make me not even want to get in another relationship”.

Research at Psychology Today did not reveal at all that the above is common for women – or men. Perhaps even to the contrary. It did reveal an article “15 Wise and Inspiring Quotes About Ageing” by Susan Krauss Whitbourne. Two of the quotes that she used were actually very good and may even explain our individual perception on ageing:

“The wiser mind mourns less for what age takes away than what it leaves behind.” William Wordsworth (1770-1850)

PT: “There are several layers of wisdom embedded in this quote. One is that as people get older, their wisdom is expressed by focusing on what is most important. Second, those adults who do focus on loss will be less able to maximise their mental powers, even in areas that traditionally seem vulnerable to the effects of ageing. Third, by concentrating on your strengths rather than your weaknesses, your more positive mental set will allow you to take advantage of your mental powers, even if they’re not quite what they were when you were younger.”

“He who is of a calm and happy nature will hardly feel the pressure of age, but to him who is of an opposite disposition, youth and age are equally a burden.” Plato (427-346 B.C.)

PT: This wise observation from Plato harkens back to the findings of “Big Five” researchers Costa and McCrae, who observed that the most discontented younger adults were the ones most likely to experience the so-called “midlife crisis” in their 40s. Although personality change is possible at any time throughout life, people high on the trait of neuroticism seem to have disadvantages in adapting to the challenges of midlife and beyond.”

Contrary to my 19 May 2015 blog, I am quite pleased now with my current age, personal situation, and look forward to (early) retirement in order to fully dedicate my time on writing my book. It’s too difficult for me to start writing that book now and then losing my “flow” because of work commitments. I estimate that my book will take me a year or so. And I prefer to finish what I start.

On 9 Dec 2015, the FT even published an article about a study that retirement is good for you, both mentally and physically: “The study looked at German survey data from 1994 to 2012 and found that retired people were more likely to say their physical and mental health had improved since retirement. They managed an extra 40 minutes of sleep every weekday and were more likely to exercise. They also visited the doctor less often. [] The researchers said release from the demands of work, more time for exercise and a feeling of greater personal autonomy seemed to improve mental health”.

Aaliyah – Age Ain’t Nothing But A Number (1994) – artist, lyrics, Wiki-1, Wiki-2

The Beatles – When I’m Sixty Four (1967) – artists, lyrics, Wiki-1, Wiki-2

When I get older losing my hair. Many years from now. Will you still be sending me a valentine. Birthday greetings, bottle of wine? If I’d been out till quarter to three. Would you lock the door? Will you still need me, will you still feed me. When I’m sixty-four? The Beatles

Frank Sinatra – It Was A Very Good Year (1965) – artist, lyrics, Wiki-1, Wiki-2

But now the days grow short, I’m in the autumn of the year. And now I think of my life as vintage wine from fine old kegs. From the brim to the dregs, and it poured sweet and clear. It was a very good year. It was a mess of good years. Frank Sinatra – It Was A Very Good Year


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