Old Age Ain’t for Sissies

H. L. Mencken once observed that old age ain’t no place for sissies. Since I turned 60 in July, I wrote something for an Ohio publication on advancing years — more specifically, on refusing to spend the rest of your life in an easy chair just because you’ve celebrated a certain birthday.

True, Death Valley was tougher on me this year. I had to take it slower, and I felt like hell during a lot of the run. (So … what else is new?) But when I went out the next day to ascend Mt. Whitney, I felt like a teenager! Mountain climbing rejuvenates me — that’s what I’m ideally suited to these days, I think. And having just returned from my Alps trip, where we were dealing with some extreme weather conditions that derailed our original plans, I can report that experience paid serious dividends. Age doesn’t have to create limitations; it can be a possibility maker and an eye opener.

Climbing New Mountains:
Adventure Doesn’t Know Your Age

(I originally wrote the following for Senior Times’ August 2011 edition.)

Adventure doesn’t know your age, couldn’t care less, won’t even ask:

  • You know that river you’ve been meaning to fish? It doesn’t mind if AARP sent you your membership card last year, or even a really long time ago.
  • Or those temple ruins calling your name? They won’t blink an eye at an Eisenhower-years birthdate.
  • How about the sports car you’re itching to convert to an electric engine? Believe me, it couldn’t give a rat’s rear-end if you’re over 70.

As an extreme endurance athlete, one of my favorite activities is ruining people’s ideas about what they “can’t” do, especially when it comes to us in the over-50 crowd. That doesn’t mean I never have doubts, never worry about getting older or slowing down. This week, I turned 60. Reflecting on this, I’m willing to admit that my most impressive accomplishments are probably in the past … 

Read the rest in the Senior Times digital edition, then come back here to comment if you have some wisdom of your own to add.

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1 Response to Old Age Ain’t for Sissies

  1. I’m reminded of a co-worker who told me long ago, “when you get to be 60 like me, you won’t be able to do much anymore. your body hurts and won’t let you.” I told him he was wrong. With that attitude You cannot live. “I plan to stay active” I said. He got angry and told me I was wrong. And that He’s living proof.
    I walked away saying “you let your mind keep your body from staying active, I wont.”

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