Is age just a number?

A framed quote by my desk is: “Everything should be made as simple as possible. But not simpler.” It’s obviously by someone with a subtle sense of humor. It’s by Albert Einstein. And I’m applying it to my opening question.

Most of you reading this have experienced something age related that clarifies it’s more than just a number. The point, of course, is that we can affect that number. Our circumstances, our condition, are largely due to our choices. Accepting the responsibility of where we are in life instead of blaming other forces is step one of maturity.

Some numbers to consider: during the Roman Empire life expectancy was 35. In this great country as we entered the 20th century in 1900, it was only 47. So, in 19 centuries our species added 12 years to our lives. Then, by 2000, it was 78. In the 20th century we added more than 30 years! More about why later. But for now, imagine entering old age in our 30s or 40s.

What is “old age” now? Well, from my experience, it moves. It’s about 10 years older than whatever I am. I mean, I remember when we weren’t supposed to trust anyone over 30 years old. But whatever the number, our bodies are where we’ll each spend our individual “old age.” My intention is to keep doing all I can to spend as few of those years as possible in discomfort and/or pain. And yes, we can do plenty about affecting that. The best news from research is that we can start doing something about it at any age.

Many people don’t like change. They resist and try to keep things the way they are. They even look back and with selective memory believe everything was better at some time in the past. They emphatically try to protect the status quo. But not changing doesn’t protect the way things are; it just sacrifices the future. Like it or deny it but we’re always in transition. Always. And we all can find plenty to improve about ourselves. That’s not a premise to consider—that’s a fact.

I think our priorities are a combination of wants and responsibilities. Some responsibilities we just have, some we are given and some we choose to accept. I’m trying to inspire here. I’m trying to encourage my readers to accept the responsibility of making positive changes that will affect the rest of your life, no matter what that number is.

You know what I do. You know I’m going to focus on adding physical activity, effort and energy to your lives. I do think it is the most important priority from which all else launches. I mean I’m even sure those 30 years of life gained in the 20th century are because personal fitness training became a reality. (See, I may not understand E=mc2, but I can learn from his quotes).

Please choose to improve your health. Make a specific commitment to change something. Today. We may have more of them now but another year will go by in a flash.