My sister Barbara told me on my 40th birthday that after 40, life is just one small procedure after another till the big one that takes you out. I am hoping that is not true.

Actually I am 57 and still hanging (in some places lower than others) in there. I probably shouldn’t have said that out loud, but maybe writing something is not like saying it out loud and it won’t happen just because I wrote that it hadn’t happened. Convoluted maybe, but I am sure you get it.

Birthdays like 40, 50 and 60 traditionally bring to you all of those over-the-hill cards and comments about being past your prime. Personally though, I’m not buying it. First of all because it is personal and I refuse to spend the rest of the time I have here looking down the wrong side of said hill. I also dislike the word “over.” Think of how that sounds; over the hill. Well get over it because I am here to tell you that it ain’t over till it’s over and I haven’t even reached my peak yet!

But tradition is tradition and you know how something becomes tradition; by thoughts, beliefs, and actions that are held over a long period of time. Traditional thoughts and beliefs become traditional just by maintaining themselves for a long time and have very little to do with truth or untruth, right or wrong – except for an idea becoming “truth” by having everybody in a culture believing it. Having said this made me think of this old saying:

Be careful what you think, for your thoughts become your words.
Be careful what you say, for your words become your actions.
Be careful what you do, for your actions become your habits.
Be careful what becomes habitual, for your habits become your destiny.

Okinowan, Kiich Sakugawa, 96, with his wife

In western culture we believe it is good to young and not so good to be old. But there are cultures in the world where people age with vitality, strength and grace, and are respected and revered. What are we missing here? Why don’t we get it?

Maybe if we were to change our thoughts about aging we could change what we say about aging. Maybe if we change the way we talk about it, we would change the way we age. Maybe if we change the way we age, we would change the way we think about it. Maybe if we change the way we think about it, we would change the way we talk about age. Maybe if we change the way we talk about it we would change what we believe. Maybe if we all start to believe what we are thinking and saying and doing, we would develop a new traditional thought about aging.

What do you think?

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