I’m closing in on turning 58 in just a few months. I don’t feel “old”—in fact, I don’t even know what “old” is. I feel like the same person I’ve always been—well, at least as an adult—and I really don’t have angst about my age or aging. But I started to think about this issue of My Generation, “Forever Young,” and what that means to me as someone who is a member of this magazine’s target audience. Rather than thinking about being old, I have been thinking about what is keeping me forever young.
There are the usual things like diet and exercise. I am usually about 5 to 10 pounds overweight, according to the people who pay attention to that stuff. My bloodwork numbers skew a little high, but in the normal range—ditto for BMI. I don’t eat processed foods or (much) junk food. I walk 3 to 5 miles a day and I hike harder on the weekends. So I’m young enough in this category.
I drive around the country with my husband in a van, living like hippies going to see as many rock shows and festivals as we possibly can. My kids and stepkids like to hang out with me, and this also keeps me young. We cook, hike, eat, drink and make merry more than most families I know. My brain is active on and off the job. My work is creative and challenging, and I am an avid reader and Scrabble player and don’t watch much regular TV. I always see the glass half full, usually overflowing. I’m pretty young, I think.
I could have taken a different approach here and said, “Oh, woe is me. I’m fat and my numbers are sort of high and I don’t walk 5 miles every day and sometimes I eat junk food and my word recall is not what it used to be and I only see my kids a few times a month, blah blah.” You get it right? Age, maybe, is all a matter of perspective and attitude, which is what I loved when I was reading the feature story on Allyn Genest. What a ray of sunshine! Here’s the best part: Allyn says, “I felt like I needed to change my life around,” and he did just that. Despite personal tragedy and other obstacles along the way, Allyn changed his life. This year, at age 67, he’s run 67 races (and counting). Read his story on page 8. Maybe that is the simplest yet most important sentence, that we all have some power to change our life around.
In another story you will meet Jane Stebbins, who retired to Maine several years ago and found new passions and pursuits through becoming involved initially as a student and now as an instructor at Osher Lifelong Learning Institute. Read her story on page 12. This experience for Jane has not only enriched her mind, but she has found a whole new community to thrive within. Clarke Canfield rediscovered his passion for skiing in his 50s and has learned he’s a youngster on the slopes compared to many. Read more from him on page 30.
What’s your passion? What keeps you feeling forever young? Write to us anytime and please remember to follow us on Facebook.