What's Age Got To Do With It?
By Willie Jolley
What's age got to do with it? I have found that many people are not living life to the fullest because they let the general perception about age limit them. We have all heard the statement, "Act your age!" My question is, what does that mean? Oh, I know we all say it to children who are acting like babies, but far too often people will continue to hear it in their heads as they grow into adulthood. They think old and act old because in their heads they continue to hear the old recording, “Act your age! Act your age!” Well, how do you act your age? Do you act like everyone else? I say no!
I say that you should not let your age limit you! Satchel Paige was pitching in the Negro Leagues in his fifties. When asked about it, he said, “Age is about mind over matter…if you don’t mind, it don’t matter!”
People who don’t let their age limit them live fuller lives. Many are starting businesses in their 70’s and 80’s and writing books and running marathons and are excited about the future. I recently played golf with two gentlemen I met at a church where I spoke. They were both 85 years young (I say 85 years young because they certainly were not old) and they were full of life! They were full of energy and excited about life and looking forward to the future with great anticipation. I asked them what was the secret to long life?
They said that it is important to keep thinking positive thoughts and thinking that whatever age you are, is a good young age, and that there was still a lot of life left to live. And there was one more thing I found amazing thing about them. One of them had been married 60 years and the other had been married 61 years. And they both were still in love with their wives! WOW! They both said part of the secret to longevity was finding a life partner who you liked as much as you loved! They said life is challenging for everyone, but it is infinitely easier when you have a life partner to share it with. So find someone you like as much as you love, because you need to be friends as well as lovers!
After my golf outing with the two gentlemen, I had another example of someone who didn't let their age limit them. I had a special guest on my Sirius XM radio show …Chuck Brown. Chuck Brown created the music genre, which is called "Go-Go". It is a phenomenon that is very popular on the East Coast and especially in the Washington DC area. Chuck Brown recently was nominated for a Grammy Award, and was featured with the National Symphony Orchestra over the Labor Day Holiday on the West Steps of the US Capitol. He performs around the country and around the world and typically performs 4 or 5 nights a week...and he is 75 years young!
During my interview, I asked Chuck what was the secret to his success, and he said that he thinks young and therefore feels young. Chuck said that the secret to his success and his youthfulness was that he refused to act his age. Many of his friends and contemporaries told him to retire with them at 65 but he refused and kept playing his music at concerts. And now he said, “Many of them are either dead or half-dead!” He also said the secret is thinking that you are still viable and valuable and enjoying life to the fullest. He still does pushups and walks daily and continues to think young. He said that you must think positive and understand that the mind dictates what the body does. So, you must think about being healthy, happy and whole!
I was amazed at how young he looked. I believe your thinking impacts your self-concept and how you look, because Chuck didn't look a day over 60. He walked fast and while we were walking through the XM Studio everyone was stopping him and asking for autographs and to take pictures. He was as youthful and full of energy as I was. He said, “I always stop when people want to take pictures because 50 years ago, the only ones who wanted to take my picture were the police!”
Chuck said that as a young man he didn’t think he would be famous or have people ask for his autograph. He never thought he would get old and now that he is 75, he doesn’t think of himself as old. He keeps living and moving and enjoying life, and recommends it for everyone! He says age is just a number so don’t get caught up with the number, but rather focus on your dreams and goals and live life to the fullest. Don’t let other people dictate how you should act at a certain age. Think young and enjoy life! Every day is a gift.
So my message for you today is- live life to the fullest and follow your heart. Set big goals (people with goals live longer). Make a commitment to live your dreams as long as you have life and breath. Don’t let your age limit you! And whatever you do…don’t act your age!
God bless you! -WJ
You can check out some of Chuck Brown’s music and thoughts here.