Married? Kids? Career? Mortgage? Okay, that’s your life done, then – time to start growing old and look forward to retirement then, right? Well?
Many of us may have become resigned to that idea, but it’s usually one that many try to fight. We seem to be grown up – we have responsibilities, bills, we wear grown up clothes like suits and sometimes speak in grown-up jargon (“seeking life-work solutions”, “connecting with people”, “dealing with communication deficits” and other such nonsense), but are we really ready to accept that the fun days are over? Do we just keep going to work until we keel over and our kids have to spoon-feed us and change our bedpans?
Well, of course not. Unfortunately, there does exist an underlying culture of sneering at those of us in middle age (or thereabouts), who take up youthful pursuits. Making snide comments about joggers, for example, is a more popular pastime than jogging itself. However, it is we, of course, who shall have the last laugh. As we remain fit as a fiddle, jogging around the block well into our 80s and 90s, we’ll be jogging past the sneerers as they’re pushed in their wheelchairs, carried away in ambulances and eventually carried off in their coffins.
Jogging, however, is not for everyone. It’s certainly not the only way to stay young. But physical exercise is a big part of it. While much is made of anti-ageing products, shampoos and make up, exercise is key to remaining healthy and youthful. That’s not to say that there isn’t a role for anti-ageing products. If it makes you feel good about yourself, then why not? For that matter, there’s nothing wrong with getting a new tattoo or dyeing your hair green or purple in your forties or fifties (in your sixties it’s started to be seen as something normal to do). Slap on as much product as you want, as long as it makes you feel good. Don’t blow your money on overpriced products with questionable results if it doesn’t make you feel any better.
As far as physical activity goes, there are lots of options. Jogging and cycling are pretty common – they can be fun, they get you out into the fresh air and they get your heart and lungs going. There’s nothing wrong with that at all. However, how many mid-lifers are out there jogging because they saw it as a sensible option. They felt their choice was limited to jogging, cycling or playing squash after work, as the fear of being ridiculed for rocking a BMX, joining a soccer team or taking up jousting was too much. It is, however, the mentality which enables you to choose the latter options which will keep you young, far more than the activity itself.
You’re not at high school anymore and you’re not in a neighborhood popularity contest. Who cares what the neighbors think if when they see you flying over their house in a bat suit? In fact, rather than being joked about, it’s far more likely that they’ll try to join you in your pursuits – now that you’ve shown them that semi-oldies can do it, too.
Take a look on the internet to find ideas which excite you before you decide on something. It might be something which only has a minor effect on your life – cruising down to the mall or a unicycle or a hoverboard, for example, instead of going in your car. Or it might be something life-altering: taking up bouldering and mountain climbing could see you conquer Everest in a few years. Scuba lessons might take you to the Great Barrier Reef, the Maldives and other exotic locations.
Even if you’re decidedly against physical activity, there are still options open to you. Joining a language class could open some of life’s doors that you never dreamed of. You could end up vacationing with new friends from the other side of the world. Chinese classes might tease out an interest in studying the classics of Chinese literature. Spanish classes might lead to a Venezuelan romance and you upping sticks and moving to a life of leisure in an exotic country. Who knows what awaits you if you just try?