Have you heard before that “aging is all in the mind“? If that is correct, then is it possible to reverse, or at least delay, the process of aging by using our mind?
I don’t know about you but when I was young it was normal to be a parent around 25, a grandparent around 50, and at 70 to be in the grave.
We marveled that a 50-year-old could still ski or cycle.
An 80-year-old was considered ancestral.
However, in 50 years, things have totally changed, and it is no longer unusual to see 75-year-old cyclists in fluorescent lycra swimsuits, contoured sunglasses, showing off protruding, muscular calves like those of a bodybuilding coach.
But in people’s minds, things have, strangely, not moved at the same speed.
Even today, society sees us:
- young and crazy at 20,
- mature at 30,
- already aging at 40,
- soon unemployed, or in any case difficult to “retrain” at 50 (or even 45).
For those 60 and over, let’s not talk about it …
They are viewed professionally and socially as worn out, finished. We relegate them to the closet. Even ignoring their opinions. We no longer listen to them, and we act as if their opinions were only archaic and outdated tales. We turn away as soon as they try to tell a memory and we laugh at their “veterans stories”:
All this while they have an irreplaceable life experience that begs to be valued.
At 60, you have enormous experience and dozens of years ahead of you. What are you going to do with it?
At 60, you also have enormous experience. And you still have dozens of years of life ahead of you.
What are you going to do with it?
Why not decide to start a new career, a new life?
I’ll give you some numbers:
It takes 10,000 hours for a normal person to become an expert in a field that he or she completely ignores.
10,000 hours is then 6 hours a day for five years.
So yes, five years of engagement.
Is it too much? Is it impossible?
For a young person, who is starting his graduation studies, of course, it seems long.
But for us, who have already lived so long, we know that 5 years is a very short period, which passes in the blink of an eye if we devote ourselves to a project that fascinates us.
There is no good reason not to have ambition at 60!
Yes, I repeat: there is absolutely no good reason, at 60, not to have an ambition!
Nothing prevents you from starting to learn Chinese, Russian, trumpet or carpentry from scratch.
If you work six hours a day, seriously, you’ll be as good in five years as a 20-year-old student starting today.
In theory, you could even become an engineer, professor, lawyer or a medical intern.
Aging is in the mind, yes!
From here I hear the objections or excuses: “My memory is failing at my age“; “With young people, it goes like butter …”
But who said that.
Who decided it?
If studies show a longer reaction time and less ease of memory as we age, this can be more than offset by experience, stored knowledge and a stronger will.
So there’s no evidence that it’s harder to learn when you’re old.
The team of Ana Ines Ansaldo, researcher in psychology at the University Institute of Geriatrics of Montreal (Canada), studied the learning of a second language in adults. The researchers asked a group of young adults and a group of people over 65 to learn 100 Spanish words in three weeks. At the end of this training, the elderly obtained response times and numbers of correct answers comparable to young adults, showing that the two groups have similar learning performance.
If we feel like it was easier in our youth, it’s because we forgot the pain it took us as a child to learn spelling, multiplication tables, or variations.
And anyway, to achieve a goal, nothing is as important as will, determination, moral strength.
It’s like in mountaineering:
“At 70, they are still full of venom!”
This is a reflection of my high mountain guide, with whom I climb the peaks of the Alps.
When I asked him if he didn’t mind taking clients who were too old, he burst out laughing: “At 70, I can tell you that all my clients are still full of venom!”.
Like old gnarled oaks hardened by the years, his old clients are the toughest, those who resist all trials, fatigue, suffering.
They have the nerves. The experience. The moral. They know each other, and they are no longer afraid. His best client, he told me, is a client, a 65-year-old woman who completes over 60 climbs a year and has an excellent technical level thanks to her experience.
How many retirees take up bridge, crosswords, sudoku, chess, scrabble, and become unbeatable in a few years of practice? Doesn’t this demonstrate an intact ability to learn ??
Likewise, who said that the last works of the great writers, poets, musicians, philosophers, who died at an old age, were less valuable than their works of youth?
It is often the opposite …
Age and experience are an advantage for learning and discovering.
It is essential today to reconsider the course of our life, to take into account real longevity
In 1945, when the “pay-as-you-go” pension system was created, the world was still very different from today:
You started working at 12 or 14, you retired at 60.
After 45 years of toil in the fields, factories, mines, you were totally worn out.
At 65, you said goodbye.
So it was not absurd to take a little something from the wages of the very numerous working people to finance the retirement pensions of the elderly, which only lasted a few years.
Things have changed a lot today. But we haven’t made the necessary adjustments in our lives.
Young people continue to plan their lives as if nothing important could happen after 65. Social life is organized so that old people give way to “young people” at a much too early age.
This poses catastrophic problems, not only for the financing of pensions, but also for the meaning of life of the elderly. Many are deprived of important responsibilities with enormous life experience, and dozens of years to go before them.
Leisure, travel, clubs, and caring for grandchildren are not enough to fill their lives. They then risk falling into a routine and depressing life, in which health problems take on disproportionate importance.
At the end of your career, start your real life! Remember, aging is only in the mind!
My old and loyal readers know my favorite joke:
Life is like a building you have to climb. At twenty, you climb the first flight of stairs, then the second, then the third, then the fourth. At forty, or fifty years old, you get on the roof, you look around you and there … you realize that you have climbed the wrong building.
This feeling shouldn’t make you feel like you’ve messed up your life. Because during this first climb, you gained experience.
Now that you’re at the top of the building, you can see things from above, in perspective. You are no longer with your nose stuck to the windscreen.
So now is the time to sit down, reflect, and start your real life.
To finally become the person you really were.
Rolling up your sleeves, five years from now you might have learned a whole new profession that has absolutely nothing to do with what you’ve done all your life. And live a second life then, why not, a third and a fourth.
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