Ah, But I Was So Much Older Then, I’m Younger Than That Now…

#3daughtersspeak: A New Regular Feature of This Blog: My Three Grown Daughters Chime In On a Variety of Topics: Today’s Topic: Staying Young!

The post title is the chorus of Bob Dylan’s “My Back Pages.” It’s on my mind as Dylan turns 75 in May this year! In 1971, on my dorm room wall, I hung a Peanuts comic. Linus tells Charlie Brown Dylan is turning 30. He replies, “That’s the most depressing thing I’ve ever heard.” But I figured if Dylan was that old and still so cool and gifted, there was hope for us all. Listening to Dylan lyrics made me feel older, more sophisticated, and connected with a world larger than myself. I still listen but now they make me feel younger, more sophisticated, and connected with a world larger than myself.

In 1971 I feared old age, afraid it would stop me from being the vital and engaged person I wanted to be. With age came the wisdom to know becoming less vital is not a given. I’m not talking about keeping a youthful appearance, although I try to do that too. (I keep my hair long but I’ve given up mini skirts, alas.) I’m talking about maintaining youthful exuberance. I started running in my 50s. It’s part of my anti-aging plan. I try to keep up with technology. I eat healthfully. I listen to current music so I have a sense of popular culture. I do things to keep my brain alive like writing, reading, and creating art.  I volunteer for causes  I’m passionate about to fuel my heart and soul.

I think if parents want children to age gracefully without fear, we have to show them how. I never told my daughters I couldn’t do something because I was too old.  So, now, I ask my grown daughters, what do you do to stay young? How will you be younger in the future than you are now? Are you afraid of growing older?

Tamra Writes:

Moisturizing. I got carded at a PG-13 movie when I was 23 years old, so obviously it’s working. Being a teacher and around kids at work helps me stay young, because we’re expected to be excited about little things and be creative – which keeps you young. I run and try to eat healthy, although I don’t think I do that to stay young as much as to stay healthy and to fit into my nice jeans. I don’t know how you get youngish people to not be afraid of getting old. I think there are a lot of things people expect from you when you’re older, and it’s a lot of pressure. What if you don’t have the perfect job, amount of money, social life, or living situation by a certain time? I guess times are changing (Note the Dylan pun) and those milestones don’t have to happen at a specific time any more, but a lot of young people still go by them, and that can be intimidating. Perhaps we need to remind young people that everything happens for different people at different times, and it doesn’t matter how old you are (or in my case, how young).

Other ways to stay or feel young: laughing, letting yourself have a good time, trying new things, and if that doesn’t work, just go to a bar where everyone is older than you.

As far as I’m concerned, I turned 21 many times, and each time was better than the time before, so I guess I am getting younger than I used to be.

Shira writes:

I’d rather live in the present than worry about being older. Yes, I try to eat healthy most of the time and am desperately trying to find an exercise routine that I have the motivation to keep up with, but I have more important things to think about than getting older. I think if you live a life that makes you happy, it doesn’t matter how old you are. There are certain things I know make me happy in the present, and those are the things I try to focus on.

My friendships are very important to me. I grew into adulthood before I learned how to really maintain friends, and I’ve also learned how to distinguish good ones from the ones who aren’t worth my time. Spending time with people I have a good time with definitely makes me feel younger. Trying new things absolutely helps keep you young. Whether it’s retrying a food I thought I hated (turns out mushrooms aren’t so bad), or going to a new place, (Hello, New Orleans!), new experiences keep life interesting.

I haven’t gotten carded at quite as many PG 13 movies as Tamra has, but there have been many casual Fridays where I was mistaken for an 8th grader at work, so maybe I’ve got some idea of how to keep myself young.

Alexis Writes:

Are you sure he wasn’t being sarcastic?

Because I think he might have been. Perhaps he even meant it takes being older to appreciate being younger. I know there are times when I yearn for the days when having my favorite dessert made my day and my biggest worry was if the boy I liked “like liked me.” So I think maybe we should consider perhaps Dylan had an ironic intention.

I think the thing about staying young is that because you’re young, everything is new. You’re filled with so much anticipation because you’re just learning about the world and how it relates to you. Now that I’m in the thirties I think about growing old a lot and it scares me. I exercise and moisturize for maintenance, yes wrinkles and cellulite offend me, and I am trying to combat the inevitable. I think the thing about being young and not knowing anything is that you’re excited for what awaits and as you get older it seems like many surprises are stressful.

I try to do new things and to be open to people. This is not easy; we all like things we are comfortable with. I’ve tried new activities, new friends, and even new responsibilities at work just to keep the anticipation going and to get things to be excited about. I think it’s easy to fall into a rut so I try to be conscious of that. I think the way to stay young is to do things that make you happy, which usually means doing a little self discovery.

Check in with me at age 36 and see if my thoughts have changed. I hope I’ll be the only one at Happy Hour getting carded.

What do you think of this new feature where my daughters are speaking out? Do you ever want to hear from them again? 🙂 And, if you haven’t yet, please subscribe on the right. Thanks!

And still are...

And still are…

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They were young then…

21 Responses to “Ah, But I Was So Much Older Then, I’m Younger Than That Now…

  • Yes. I like the advice they shared.

    • A lovely answer. Thanks. They will be flattered. (And they do respond well to flattery!)

  • I love your site! I loved your WordPress site but this is even better. I was carded until I was in my thirties. I try to eat healthy, stay busy and exercise. Yes, I love my hair long too, and I am 70. Rock on!

    • Yow! Thanks so very much, you are so kind and I’m so happy you had fun with this. And I suspect we have much in common beyond hair. Read on!

  • Great post, Debby. Your daughters sound like women I’d like to know. I remember being so depressed on my 29th birthday because I thought the best of life was behind me. Little did I know that the best was yet to come!

    • I was pretty freaked out at 27 but after that I was okay about the passing years, most years that is. My daughters are wiser than I was at their ages in a lot of ways. I am honored you’d like to know them. They are worth knowing. (Most days that is!). Thanks for letting me know you liked this. We appreciate it!

  • I love the upbeat tone of this piece. I have spent nearly a week with women all younger than I at a writers’ retreat. Age is no barrier.

    With advice like this – you too will remain ageless. Very upbeat for a Monday morning.

    • I love the idea of at least feeling ageless. I’ve seen your photos from this week. You don’t look a moment older than any of the women you’ve been with so clearly you understand ageless! Thanks!

  • I’m 46 1/2 🙂 and have a 10-year-old daughter. I was out yesterday and met a 42-year-old woman with two grown children. She kept telling me how young I looked – – I don’t. I lifeguarded too many summers 🙂 – – and all I kept thinking was it’s radiating from the inside. Physically I don’t look young it all but I feel it. On the inside <3

    • While the outside is what everyone sees, the truth is you’re right, the inside is what we feel and that really determines our sense of our age. She probably just feels older than you for a variety of reasons. I love, btw, that you still count your age in half years!

  • I really did enjoy this. What interesting girls and what a fun blog post. Thanks for sharing their thoughts. And yours!

  • I like the 4 of you talking about getting old and what it means. I was carded for senior citizen discount a few years ago,55 and I was, but then I was asked if I wanted the senior citizen discount last year, 65, and I was not!

    • I know. When that happens to me, and it does, I don’t know whether to be insulted or just to shut up and take the discount! It’s tempting and yet, it doesn’t say much for how good I look, does it? Thanks for taking the time to write this. It made me smile!

  • What a great idea to ask your daughters to weigh in! My daughter is 36 years old…..she is my best friend and a trusted advisor on so many things life brings my way.

    • We are so lucky to have been able to raise these incredible young women, aren’t we?

  • Deb,what a fantastic idea to have your daughters join in the blog. It’s so empowering! And it’s really refreshing to learn the perspectives of aging and life from a younger generation.
    Like Tamra, I began moisturizing at age 20, and am quite grateful for that decision; it does pay off! It’s nice to know the younger generation’s opinions on life too. You and I are a lot alike, we strive to stay healthy and vibrant and current. I love wearing bright clothing, boots and shoes galore, but the miniskirt has too passed for me. 🙂

    • We are a lot alike. And I wish I had started moisturizing in my 20s! I’m with you on the boots and bright clothes. Some of my friends tend to more subtle looks but I think I need more brightness in my life as I get older, not less! I’m also with you on shoes and boots. They’re just the perfect way to show some flare, right? As to my girls, my daughters do make me laugh and I thought it might be fun from time to time to let them get in on the blogging fun. Glad you enjoyed “meeting” them!

  • This hit me deep into all my aging fears. Pinning to read again. Thank you so much for linking at #ThursdayFavoriteThings! I look forward to seeing what you share very week. Please come back for #OverTheMoon on Sunday night. Don’t forget to comment your link #’s so I can be sure to visit.

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