Getting old doesn’t have to suck.
Like anything else, it all depends on your attitude.
Samuel Ullman composed a poem explaining how age is only a number if you have the right mindset.
“Youth is not a time of life; it is a state of mind; it is not a matter of rosy cheeks, red lips, and supple knees; it is a matter of the will, a quality of the imagination, a vigor of the emotions; it is the freshness of the deep springs of life.”
Youth means a temperamental predominance of courage over timidity of the appetite, for adventure over the love of ease. This often exists in a man of 60 more than a boy of 20. Nobody grows old merely by a number of years. We grow old by deserting our ideals.”
If you’d prefer a real-life example, look at 72-year-old Seattle Seahawks Coach Pete Carroll.
Two weeks ago, he led his team to a dramatic victory on Monday Night Football. Seattle lost their previous four games and faced Super Bowl runner-up, Philadelphia Eagles.
His post-game speech is a must-watch for anyone thinking their life is over as they approach “old” age.
The Daily Coach, Mike Lombardi, explains:
Carroll doesn’t look 72 – or act 72. He loves his job. Carrol is timeless, not because of his youthful appearance- but rather for the love he brings daily.
He loves his life, work, and ability to lead, proving that age is meaningless. As we enter a new year, remind yourself you are not getting older. age is only a number. What we love is what matters.
Stay curious, stay hungry, spend time with children, and copy their love of life.
Too many older workers and retirees abandon their zest for life, failing to focus on their strengths.
As we enter the back half of life, our fluid intelligence declines while our crystallized intelligence increases.
Fluid intelligence revolves around our ability to reason, think flexibly, and solve novel problems. In contrast, Crystallized intelligence pertains to our ability to apply past knowledge.
Source: Intelligence and I.Q.
Pete Carroll is not revolutionizing the game of football. He is applying his vast experience in motivating players and getting them to buy into his team philosophy. He’s a teacher, not a master strategist, but nobody would quarrel with the results.
He doesn’t generate facts; he applies them.
A recent study detailed how the oldest college professors garnered the highest teaching evaluations from their students. A good teacher maximizes their crystallized intelligence by using the spoken word to decode copious amounts of data in the most relatable way possible.
If you’re struggling in your job or retirement, it might be because you’re trying to be an innovator instead of a teacher or mentor.
Helping younger workers or volunteering your time to pass on your accumulated life skills may not make you famous, but it will make you happy.
This week, I had somewhat of an epiphany regarding this concept. First, a neighbor approached me and inquired if I would train her husband. She wanted this to be her Christmas gift to him. Sounded pretty cool to me. a couple of days later, I read about a Master Gardner program that includes 125 hours of community service over two years after completing the course curriculum. Getting my neighbors into shape and gardening with a purpose to benefit others are places I can call home when the time comes.
Both of these endeavors require lots of crystallized knowledge. Fame, fortune, and followers won’t result, but happiness slides into the slot.
Becoming part of someone else’s plan isn’t advisable. Follow the advice of the Roman Philosopher Cicero, who listed three items necessary for fulfillment as you age.
- Dedicate yourself to service.
- Your greatest gift as you grow older is accumulated wisdom.
- Instead of focusing on power and prestige, mentor, advise, and teach others.
Getting older is a gift; don’t throw it into the return bin by misusing your hard-earned skills.