I have a friend who takes it upon herself to remind me whenever we speak that I’m getting old. The interesting thing about that is, I usually don’t even remember how old I am. Maybe that’s why I’m not excited about birthdays. In the past, I’ve had to take a few seconds on my birthday to figure out how old I am on that day. It’s not because my memory fails me, it’s just that, in my mind, I pretty much feel the same day in day out, month in month out, year in year out and on my birthday, I kinda just feel like I did the day before. So that question, “How does it feel to be……?” It’s kinda like a silly question imo. It is. It’s a question that I’ve asked my children before. If someone asks me on my birthday this year, “Kehinde, how does it feel to be 50?” I’d reply, “Ermmmm…..how it felt at 49, 48, 47, 46……”. Age to me is a state of mind. Okay, I might be a bit youthful in behaviour but that doesn’t mean I live my life aiming to be forever young, I just live. I don’t think about my age.
That saying, age can creep up on us like a thief in the night. One minute we feel young and the next minute we suddenly feel old. It’s as if suddenly something is stolen – our youthfulness, vibrancy, vitality and even our mind. I don’t know about you but I feel as if, if I don’t make deliberate efforts to keep my mind and body alive, they might slowly drift away. So, what can we do to make sure age does not steal our mind and body from us? I’ve created a list. Heeheeheehee!
- Be adventurous. Do something that you would not normally do. I don’t mean go bungee jumping. You can if you have the heart for it (I don’t), you could go bungee jumping, sky diving, scuba diving etc if you’re the fearless type. I mean do something that is totally not you but would make you feel alive. Don’t think about what other people will say, go for it!
- Go into every conversation assuming you have something to learn. The older we become, the more experienced and knowledgeable we should become. Nowadays there are so many people talking, one wonders if we are really really listening to ourselves. Are we paying attention or listening with mind chatter? If your mind starts to wander in a conversation, bring it back into focus. Start to really listen to people you come across in your day to day life. Leave all your assumptions and judgements outside the conversation and just listen. Aim to learn something from everyone you meet.
- “If you want to hide something from a black man, put it in a book” – Miles Monroe. If you’re not a reader, start reading. If you’re a reader, read stuff you would normally not think of reading. Entertainment has taken over the world. Look at the amount of crap that gets shared on social networks. The word Leisure originates from the Greek word ‘Scholea’ or ‘Scola’. To the Greek philosophers, the purpose of leisure was for mind expansion and not recreational activities. I admire middle-agers who go back to school to learn one thing or the other. I met a guy the other day, who had a handful of degrees and could speak 4 languages. Very impressive. We don’t have to go that far to keep our brain alive, all we need to do is to be open to keep learning. That could even be a new hobby that will help you develop a new skill.
- Obviously, this is a favourite of mine. Exercise!!!!!!!! O my gosh! This is a no brainier. The human body starts to wear as it grows older. Think of it like a car, when you buy a new car it’s working well, after a while, you will need to service it to keep it running smoothly. When you exercise, you service your body. Take care of it and the doctor won’t get his hands on your hard earned retirement pot. Cicero, the Roman politician and lawyer, said: “It is exercise alone that supports the spirits and keeps the mind in vigour.” This is true Pliny the Younger (AD63-113), an Italian writer and lawyer, said, “It is remarkable how one’s wits are sharpened by physical exercise.” Also true!!!! Exercise keeps the body and mind alive, we need it more in our older years.
- Spice up your sex life. Get sexy…. get really really sexy. The fact that we’re growing older does not mean that sex should ground to a halt or get boring and become like a chore. Use your imagination. What turns you on? What excites you? Discuss with your partner and agree to try new things. With the experience of being older, sex should be more enjoyable and not the other way round. Have more great sex or start having great sex.
- Lastly, keep the social interactions going. Good lively discussions and debates keep the mind alive. I like the noisy type but I’ve had to reluctantly agree that good points can get lost in noise so it’s best not to get involved in debates where we can’t hear each other.
This is not a midlife crisis mode list btw. This a midlife going forward list. Feel free to add to this list in the comments section.
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