222 Days ’til 40: How OLD Do You Feel?

14 Jul

In youth we run into difficulties. In old age difficulties run into us. ~ Beverly Sills

Old age is the most unexpected of all the things that can happen to a man. ~ Leon Trotsky, Diary in Exile

Old age is like a plane flying through a storm. Once you’re aboard, there’s nothing you can do. ~Golda Meir

The tragedy of old age is not that one is old, but that one is young. ~ Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray

Today… I… felt… OLD.  I realize that, at 39 years and 144 days I should not feel old, but I do.  Obviously being beat down by a virus this week has a strong correlation to my current feelings, but sometimes they surface on their own accord.

Some people insist that you never really grow old, and that being old or young is more a function of attitude than actual aging.  Others have not taken care of themselves and have bodies that refuse to cooperate and old can feel old at a rather young age, comparatively.

I realize that I feel old when I realize the limitations that my body (endurance, etc.) places on me that I once did not have.  When I can no longer stay up late with friends and function at work the next morning I feel old.  when I can no longer ride a 20k race without training I feel old.  When I can no longer take a red-eye flight and function the next day I feel old.  I want that endurance that flexibility, that stamina….. it is gone.  I feel old when sitting in my bed reading sounds more exhilarating to me than going on a date night.  I feel old when my partner and I start a date night and are so exhausted that we never make it past the dinner to the movies.

Yet, I want old to be an attitude, or rather, I want to feel and act young – for a really long time.  I do not want to grow old.  The words of poet Dylan Thomas harmonize with my soul, “Do not go gentle into that good night…”  I want to know that each day I am living life in a way that will keep me active and young, that will keep me learning, growing, contributing, feeling as though I have a purpose.

Today, 222 days ’til 40, I feel old; but I want to rid myself of that feeling – my attitude needs to be young and full of the excitement of all that the world still has to offer.  How about you?  How old do you feel?


 Let us never know what old age is. Let us know the happiness time brings, not count the years. ~ Ausonius


Posted by on July 14, 2012 in attitude, Health, Inspiration


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58 responses to “222 Days ’til 40: How OLD Do You Feel?

  1. bellissimom

    July 14, 2012 at 00:15

    Agh yes feeling the physical limitations really makes you feel your age.

  2. mctorrey

    July 14, 2012 at 00:21

    Sometimes I feel OLD a little creaky and worse for the wear- but then I think I am lucky to feel this way–how many kids with ilness and younger people with ilness WANT to get old? That is what makes me feel better

  3. silverbells2012

    July 14, 2012 at 00:22

    No idea how old I feel but I definitely feel the effect of father time. On the other hand, even though I might be able to do things in the way I could when I was younger, there benefits to my being in my forties. For example, my students respect me more. I can enjoy staying in on a Friday night. I notice the birds in my garden and have the patience to watch them. I think I am a better mum because I have all that life experience behind me. I wouldn’t like to be infirm but at the age I am I can finally realise some of the aspirations which alluded me when I was younger.

  4. craftythriftydecoratingwifemom

    July 14, 2012 at 00:31

    Di you want an honest answer to that? “Youth is wasted on the young,” is a very common saying. With it I would add,”Health is wasted on the healthy.” Your experience with a virus severe enough to require IVs has given you a brief insight to my world. I am 40 years younger than my mother-in-law but have only recently (she’s 96 and has stage 4 cancer that was supposed to kill her,per the oncologist, last year) come close to keeping up with her. My multiple chronic illnesses and their treatments to keep me at optimum function, for me, have aged by bones prematurely along with multiple other issues. I feel worn out, for sure. A big deal for me is like this evening. My sister is taking me out to dinner. I haven’t decided if it will be a walker or wheelchair event; The chair takes a lot of space that isn’t always practical when I just have a short walk in to be seated, but sometimes it is necessary; my safety has to come before others’ conveniences. An age? I don’t know, but I sure can’t do near what others 57 years old can do. 110? 🙂

    • 400daystil40

      July 14, 2012 at 20:19

      Very good points…… everything is relative and our bodies can be a drag full of limitations.

  5. Long Life Cats and Dogs

    July 14, 2012 at 00:41

    I have no idea who said this but I certainly live by it:
    Growing old is mandatory. Growing up is optional.
    I continue down the path of optionally not growing up and feel stupidly young for my age, which is slightly further on than yours.

  6. changeforbetterme

    July 14, 2012 at 02:06

    ah some days I do feel old….and some days I don’t…..I asked my 82 yr old mother once….how is one suppose to feel when they are old? She told me she doesn’t feel old most days….age is but a number….and how one thinks is the true age. Sometimes tho our bodies have another opinion…..and being sick always makes us feel old no matter how young we are…..

  7. narf77

    July 14, 2012 at 02:07

    They say that you are only as old as the man that you feel…here is hoping that your partner is 20 😉

    • 400daystil40

      July 14, 2012 at 20:21

      Ah, but my partner is older than I! (Only by three years!)

      • narf77

        July 15, 2012 at 02:03

        Lol…oh well…you might have to go with plan B 😉

  8. doubleinvert

    July 14, 2012 at 02:14

    There are times when I feel old and times when I feel young. I’m coming up on my 43rd birthday and a little over a year of hormone replacement therapy. This time last year, I felt like I was starting puberty again.

    Okay, so my case is a little different.

    My 23yo son says that I and his 20yo sister not only have the sense of humor of a 12yo, but the sense of humor of the same 12yo. Physically, I feel my age. I have morning aches, and I have to be very careful with what I eat. Mentally, spiritually, I feel younger. I still have that sense of wonder I had as a kid, and that makes me glad.

    • 400daystil40

      July 14, 2012 at 20:22

      I think I am the same – my mind feels younger, but my body is acting my age.

  9. Magnolia Beginnings

    July 14, 2012 at 02:15

    Someone asked recently in another blog ” what age would you be if you didn’t know how old you were? ” I love this because the idea of age is so limiting. I started law school at 40 and people would old will you be when you finish as if it were unimaginable to do such a thing. My answer was that I’d be the same age as if I never started! I’m about 25 in my mind. Old enough to have a little experience but young enough to know anything and everything might be ahead of me, because it is.

    • 400daystil40

      July 14, 2012 at 20:23

      I also LOVE this question – thanks for sharing it!!!

  10. Another Thousand Words

    July 14, 2012 at 04:53

    In my mind, I am about your age…in body, mid-60s, so if someone told me to ‘act my age’, I wouldn’t know what to do!

    Hope you’re feeling a bit more chipper, 400?

  11. buckwheatsrisk

    July 14, 2012 at 05:24

    older than 39! 😉

  12. writerwannabe763

    July 14, 2012 at 05:31

    I am a lot older than you and I feel my age…I am 67 …but it’s okay. I’ve been 20,30,40,50 and 60 so I’ve done things that everyone does at those stages in life and I don’t want to relive them again..I have my memories…but today I live for ‘today’ and what these years will bring me…Diane

    • 400daystil40

      July 14, 2012 at 20:24

      I understand that! I also would not want to go back and relive any of those past stages (unless I could bring with me all the wisdom I have from today!)

  13. travisthetraveler

    July 14, 2012 at 06:48

    May your spirit never decay.

  14. thelastsongiheard

    July 14, 2012 at 08:19

    I turned 41 a month ago but I don’t feel it. I still feel like i’m 25… apparently my real age or body age or whatever you call it is 38, so that’s not bad LOL

  15. michaelwatsonvt

    July 14, 2012 at 14:11

    As someone in his sixties, I realize old age is something I could not have really grasped at 40. My life is neither better nor worse than I imagined. Rather, it is simply different. That said, there is no doubt attitude is central in importance.

  16. Missus Tribble

    July 14, 2012 at 14:14

    I’ll be 39 in November and, due to certain genetic things that I’ve inherited, I’m not ageing quite as well as I’d like. Sometimes I feel old when I look at photographs of myself – whereas in others I could be my 16-year-old son’s big sister instead of his mother!

    I feel old when I can’t get out of bed, run or ride a bicycle – until I remember that it’s a disability holding me back and not age. I try not to let it get to me.

    I’m a big kid inside though. I get excited about Doctor Who and collecting cuddly Tribbles. I squeal like an excited little girl when something is pertinent to my interests and love to be silly.

    I’m 38 going on 12, inside my head 🙂

  17. sued51

    July 14, 2012 at 15:57

    It’s all relative. When I turned 50, I complained about feeling old to my father in his 80s and he said, “You have no idea!” Now when people younger than me say they feel old, I say, “You have no idea!” Luckily, we don’t know how we are going to feel in the future, we can only relate what we feel now to what we used to feel. Keep up the good attitude…it WILL slow things down for you and keep you young longer!

  18. walkwiththerabbi

    July 14, 2012 at 19:23

    Happy Saturday and thank you for this post and the honesty. “All progress begins by telling the truth.” The saying “the me I see is the me I’ll be” is telling. STOP thinking ans speaking “old.” Our thoughts, actions and words, DO have a way of transmuting into their physical reality. The mind has great power. YOU CAN determine what your future looks like – in every way. OWN IT!!!

    • 400daystil40

      July 14, 2012 at 20:30

      Thank you for your great comment! I love it – and you are right, we need to OWN it!!!!! 🙂

  19. ssgt leslie

    July 15, 2012 at 20:41

    why feel old about a number, it is all about state of mind, feel good be good, feel young be young…

  20. A Table in the Sun

    July 16, 2012 at 02:55

    I feel different ages on different days, but one thing I know for sure…….I always feel younger when I ride my horse, take a hike in the woods, or spend time in my garden. Now, if I could just figure out how to spend more time in my “youthful pursuits” and less time at work…………….

    • 400daystil40

      July 16, 2012 at 20:41

      Wow, great insight! I agree with you, how do we spend less time at work and more time playing???

      • A Table in the Sun

        July 16, 2012 at 21:36

        Well, I’m at 95 days till 54……and I haven’t figured it out yet…..

  21. Spider42

    July 17, 2012 at 11:47

    Nice post.
    I’ve never been the most physically active person (though basketball with my friends was a big joy for a looong time and still miss it and I love swimming) so can’t say I relate to the 20K runs and things not being quite so possible.
    That said, there are also folks who are over 10 years your senior who are twice as physically capable as me today and possibly you as well – all somewhere between genes, training, practice, grit/determination, luck and any number of possible factors.

    Where I’m going with this I suppose is that while there is some truth to “you’re only as old as you feel”, the reality remains that the body grows old and weakens in varying degrees and depending on your life and luck – it’s unavoidable. The thing I want to always remember is that no matter what, so long as my mind is my own, I’m good. (And if I lose my mind, chances are I’ll never know anyway!) I still want to do a billion things, but I’ll do what I can as best I can and push and behave at times childish even when that is far from me – never forget who you were just because of who you are, it’s all connected.
    At the same time, I will relish the feeling and experience and changes that come with aging as well, both personally and from a socio-cultural stand-point. I don’t HAVE to embrace them all but I’ll see what works for me and to hell with the rest. It’s my life and I’ll do with it as pleases me.

    Anyway, hope you’re feeling better.

    • 400daystil40

      July 17, 2012 at 20:48

      Very, very true! Sometimes I feel so young and at other times my body does not cooperate with me and I feel so old!

  22. Mary Rowen

    July 18, 2012 at 20:36

    I am a few weeks away from 48, and I’ve gotta say I feel my age some days, and sometimes not. Sometimes I literally feel younger than many of the people around me who are physically younger, because their views are jaded and they aren’t particularly active physically. I know it’s been said a zillion times, but age really is just a number, and you don’t have to pay all that much attention to it most of the time. Of course, you should celebrate on your birthday!

    • 400daystil40

      July 18, 2012 at 21:37

      Yes, very true! And I wonder if/ how I will celebrate, but I still have over 200 days to figure it out!!! 🙂

  23. tdub68

    July 19, 2012 at 23:20

    it’s true that you’re really as old as you feel, despite some grey, a few less hairs on your head and more in your ear & nose, and some aches and pains now and then. i will also say that as much as i dreaded 40, life has only continued to get better! look forward to reading more!

    • 400daystil40

      July 20, 2012 at 12:35

      Thank you – I am planning for things to get better after 40 too!!! 🙂

  24. simon7banks

    July 21, 2012 at 23:07

    Physical limitations aren’t always the result of not having taken care of yourself. However, taking care of yourself does help!

    I’m 65. My favourite birthday after 21 was 60 because I could stop being bothered by all those signposts pointing to OLD and acept being officially old. Whether I feel old depends. I certainly don’t when I’m relaxing after having walked 20+ miles in hill country with a full pack, or when I’m reading my poetry to an audience which seems mesmerised. But look in my poetry and it’s full of coming to terms with death. Even in the midst of war or gangsterism, young people don’t think like that.

    I do have some old peoples’ ailments, but none of them so far have stopped me doing what I want and I can climb small mountains (big ones by British standards) better than I could thirty years ago, so I’m just grateful.

    Finally, consider this: at your second birthday, your age doubles. After that, the rate of increase slows with every birthday till it’s only a 1% increase. If you lived long enough, it would be 0%.

    • 400daystil40

      July 22, 2012 at 09:30

      I love this comment – and particularly your comment that once you were 60 and old you didn’t have to worry about becoming old!!!!! 🙂 🙂

  25. artistspromenade

    July 24, 2012 at 22:36

    I agree with the Rabbi, it is important to limit your declarations of feeling old or your age. Our lives are a manifestation of our thoughts and words, so use only kind and inspiring words so that you are creating the best life you can. I just turned 49 (ok that’s quite a number), and I started running at 47,I run 6-7 miles a week, and if you’d asked me I would have said, me run, no way. I’m stronger physically and mentally, more than ever, I haven’t resorted to Botox or liposuction, I’m just building a better me. If I say I’m too old or to tired, I feel myself losing energy and joy.
    Ok between you and me, I do love to out run 20 year olds at the gym, they’re tired, hungover and burning the candle at both ends, and thankfully I’ve learned how to take care of my body, mind and soul! So old age ha, pride, still intact.
    So turn 40 and kick up the volume on fulfilling your dreams! This blog is great, could you have done this at 19 almost 20? All the best, Nikki

    • 400daystil40

      July 25, 2012 at 14:38

      Very good points! How wonderful that you decided at 47 to make a change, that is great! I also love that you are outrunning the 20 somethings! And, you are correct, there is no way I could have written this at 19. 🙂

  26. Lucianus Mauricius

    October 28, 2012 at 11:16

    I completely understand how you feel. At 34 I’ve started to see how things in my body are changing, and all you mentioned above I can feel them now and it scares, it infuriates and it hurts me psychologically. Yet, you didn’t mention the most important past besides the physical aspect, which the emotional/psychological one. What I mean by this is that as the years progress we also change out attitude towards age, and our own aging. We begin to see those older than us and hope to gosh we don’t end up like them, barely able to walk or not at all coherent and repetitive.
    I believe the psychological aspect of getting old takes center stage against the physical one, because our fears become reality day after day. There have been times when I was asked out for coffee date, or a drink, or a walk, and all I wanted to do was stay in bed because I was too tired and having to work the next morning takes priority toward a date, that’s what kills us in the end, it is not age rather than repetition. Thank you for sharing this, it really spoke to me as my fear of getting old becomes stronger everyday and I thought I was the only paranoid one, cose no one else seems to mention it, perhaps because all those who surround me are younger, much younger.

    • 400daystil40

      October 28, 2012 at 20:44

      Yes, I agree with you completely! I HATE the fact that I am so tired from work I am more likely to want to stay in bed than go out with people….. I want that to change! Since I started exercising regularly, I have had a bit more energy, but still not as much as I would like…..


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