The day I celebrated my 69th birthday, I began making this statement in my road shows, “Next year I will be 70.” My wife Diane challenged me, “Why would you say that? 70 is still 365 days away. Why in the world would you use that number now?” Here is why I did it.
I did it because every time I told people I was going to be 70 someone would respond, “Oh my! You don’t look that old!” That was always a boost for my ego.
Recently a little girl stood at my merchandise table after a show staring at me with eyes filled with wonder.
“Do you want an autograph?” I asked.
She shyly shook her head no.
“Did you want to tell me something?” I inquired.
I got down on one knee confident – knowing that this would be an opportunity to inspire a child and impart wisdom she would never forget.
She leaned forward and with a sweet smile whispered.“Up close, you’re really old!” So much for the ego boost!
The following routine has appeared on the internet in various forms. Originally it was attributed to George Carlin but he denied being the author. Regardless of where it started, I found it to be very true and very funny.
When you’re very young you nudge the number of your age.
‘How old are you?’ ‘I’m four and a half!’ or ‘I’m gonna be five.’
As a teenager you jump to the next number, or even a few ahead. ‘How old are you?’ ‘I’m gonna be 16!’ Even if you are 13 you want people to know that you’re ‘gonna be 16.’
You become 21. It’s a celebration. I HAVE ARRIVED. I have become 21!
But then you TURN 30. Makes you sound like bad milk! He TURNED; we had to throw him out. No more fun. It’s to late for fun. You’ve turned.
Then you’re PUSHING 40. What happened to looking forward to a special birthday milestone. Push forty away. Keep it at arms length as long as possible BECAUSE it leads to reaching 50!
You MAKE it to 60. I should be gone by now, but I’m not. I made it.
So you BECOME 21, TURN 30, PUSH 40, REACH 50 and MAKE it to 60.
By that time you’ve built up so much speed that you HIT 70! After that it’s a day-by-day thing; you HIT Wednesday!
You get into your 80’s and every day is a complete cycle; you HIT lunch; you TURN 4:30 ; you REACH bedtime. And it doesn’t end there. Into the 90s, you start going backwards; ‘I Was JUST 92.’
Then a strange thing happens. If you make it over 100, you become a little kid again. ‘I’m 100 and a half!’
Evidently at 69 I’m already a little kid again. Or at least I have reverted to a teenager. I’m jumping a full year ahead. At 69 I’m already telling people I am 70. I am grateful for the crazy little boy running around inside me. I embrace him because he keeps me young.
If you are among the “exceptionally experienced” in our culture, I encourage you to
1. Stay positive.
2. Stay curious. Learn something new at least once a month.
3. Keep your sense of humor. Laugh hard. Laugh a lot.
4. Hold tight to the people you love.
5. Take care of your body. It’s the only one you have.
6. Hold tight to your Creator, the One who loves you most.
7. Tell the people you love that you love them, at every opportunity.
You’re not old! You’re ripe! There’s a difference.
How do you stay young? I love seeing your comments.
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