Monday, July 25, 2011

Age is only a number -- My Column from Sunday's Paper

My late octogenarian mother-in-law Ruby Phillips said the only time she felt old was when she looked in the mirror.

I'm kind of like Ruby, in that I don't feel that old. Well, maybe sometimes when I roll out of bed and my knees squeak like the door hedges of an old VW Bug.

But recently the age thing slapped me in the face like a jilted debutant. Jilda and I attended a writer's event so we got a room at a nice hotel near the conference.

We hauled more stuff up there than we normally do. We took guitars, a camera bag, the laptop, and a box of books for me to hawk at the conference. This was in addition to our luggage and Jilda's makeup bag.

A bellhop promptly loaded all our stuff and headed toward the room. I was checking email on my phone, so Jilda and the bellhop were a few steps ahead. I heard him say, "I see you brought your dad with you." That would have been ok with me if he'd been trying to score some points with Jilda, but he was serious.

Jilda smiled as she looked back over her shoulder at me. When he looked back at me, I blazed him with a look that probably would have caused second degree burns on his face and neck had he been a step closer.

Once he unloaded the bags he lingered for a tip. I thought to myself, we'll find cures for cancer, heart disease, and stupidity before I give you a tip sonny boy. Of course he probably could have taken early retirement with the tip Jilda gave him.

When the door closed, she didn't say a word, but simply smiled and began unpacking her bags. I found myself in a snit.

I shouldn't have been surprised. She's always looked young for her age. Whenever we went to places that had age requirements, they checked her ID -- until she was over 30.

Once when we went to the state fair, there was an age guesser guy there. He was about to guess Jilda's age when I walked up. He looked at me, then looked at her, and after sizing me up, he guessed her age right on the money. He told her before she walked away that it was looking at me that gave him a clue as to her age. She was miffed at me for the rest of the evening.

I believe age has more to do with how you think, how you act, and how well you take care of your body, than the number of years you've lived here on earth.

I've met 20-year-olds that looked and acted like they were older than fossils. Conversely, I've met people in their 90's who radiated with energy and vitality. As a result, they looked much younger than their years. These people tend to expect the best out of life, and they usually get it.

I interviewed a 90-year-old woman back in the spring and she still lived alone, had an active social life, and drove a convertible. When I asked her if there was a secret to aging gracefully, she smiled and said:

* Do things that excite you

* Learn to laugh

* Spend time outside

* Don't eat or drink too much

* And take care of your knees because you'll miss them when they're gone.

I could not agree more.


  1. Ha ha very well said, Rick. My mother always told me that age is in the head, not in the bones. - but it's not much fun to be reminded that we might actually look older than we feel!

  2. Oh dear me, what an encounter! And good lessons! How is the saying? You are as young as your heart is?

  3. Knees are important!!! Wise wise words there!!!

    Awww sorry that you were mistaken for Jilda's dad! LOL! Oh but that's funny too though!

    Age is all in the mind and body! I may be 42 but am frequently asked for my proof of age when I buy a bottle of wine!

    Take care

  4. I love the age advice.

    I'm definitely way younger than I was fifteen years ago, I just look a lot older :)

  5. Great post Rick...She had some great advice!

  6. Inspirational! Uplifting!
    Thanks, Rick!

  7. OH I do agree with you on all counts. I must confess my family is blessed with the genes that keep us looking baby faced so my husband gets the same comments. And yes, like Jilda I can get very pleased over the misconception of my age!

    However if you were to exam the insides of my knees or see the scars on my back from back surgery you might think I was well into my century mark!

    Creaky Hugs~

  8. She's definately right! And amen on the knees....

  9. oh good that i am bored this morning and have time to browse blogs that i am following. this is a good one. full of fun and wisdom for somebody like me. looks and age is always deceiving but attitude and good upbringing will always reflect someone. who cares about age? i am always proud to tell them im 21! kidding... LOL! that's if i think of my birthday 20 years past...



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