Getting Older Doesn't Mean Being Older

Mark-John Clifford

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If you've read some of my previous posts, you know I'm 66 and seem to be realizing things about getting older I didn't expect. If you haven't read those posts, you probably should before going on with this one.

In the event you just want to keep reading, that's cool also. Most of what I'm going to write about should make sense to many of you. If, for some reason, you haven't reached the age where you think, feel, or have been told you're old, this will be a good primer.

I was told years ago by a very wise man that getting old is a state of mind. I was also told by the same wise man your only as old as you feel. All of this was added to his closing remark of one day; you'll understand what I'm talking about.

Lately, that's what I've been thinking about as well as writing on. Age is something of a mystery to many of us. Getting older has so many benefits, too many to get into here. You probably no more of the benefits than I do, and for that, I'll let you educate me in the comments.

What I do know is I feel wiser about life. I don't know if others think that I am, but inside I have this feeling of wiseness I want to share with my grandkids and other younger adults before they do something they regret in life.

I did that, and for that, I feel it makes me wiser than many, but not as much as other people I've met.

As I stated in the title, getting older doesn't necessarily mean you're feeling or going to feel older. It merely means you're getting older. Things start to happen.

We get wrinkles, and we forget things, we go bald, as in my case, although I started at a young age, I'm getting gray like many others in my age bracket.

All of these are signs of aging, but inside have you truly aged if you don't feel you have? Do we have the ability to alter the course of aging mentally, physically, and emotionally as some say?

I've asked different people over the years these same questions, and the answers are all over the place.

A Different Time and Place

One thing I do know is that while I was away in Federal Prison for ten years from the age of 40 until I turned 50, upon my release, I didn't seem to age physically, mentally, or emotionally.

If anything, the wiseness I mentioned above came from that time in prison. I can say from my heart and years inside I met some of the wisest men ever.

Some of the men I met were doing life or a couple of life terms in some cases. Their take on aging was about how being inside helped them not to age as fast as people on the outside.

When asked how they knew these facts or assumptions, they gave me examples of people they knew on the outside and who they were in contact with, how these friends or acquaintances were impressed at their non-aging ability. Of course, my convict friends could have been exaggerating?

Then again, I remember when I returned to civilization, as I called it, family, friends, and even some strangers were shocked at my age when told.

Most of them could not believe I was in my 50's. Most if not all felt I was in my 40's which was cool as far as I was concerned. Talk about an ego trip.

That's when I started thinking more about aging and what happens. Do periods of being away from daily stresses and life help with the process? I mean, there's stress in prison, but it's a different kind.

Inside I didn't have to worry about employees, my business, taxes, making money, except for what I was paid as a teacher inside. That wasn't much, $39.00 a month.

Worrying about dinner or cooking dinner was taken away. I knew I had a bed to sleep in, and I was protected in a way.

I didn't have to worry about insurance for my car or a car for that matter. I walked to work daily.

I walked the track every chance I would get. Once in a great while, I would go to the weight pile, but mostly I walked and thought.

I made it a point to walk with older convicts that had much to say about life. They didn't talk about their crimes, at least not that often. It was about life and what they had learned.

The stories were fantastic and full of wise thoughts and ideas that needed more study. I had time to do that.

As I sit here this evening typing this, I still believe we can get older bodily, mentally, and emotionally. Nevertheless, we can also rise to the occasion and feel young mentally, physically, and emotionally.

I would enjoy reading your thoughts on all of this.

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Patti, my wife, and I write about life here in Fresno, California, and the Central Valley. We especially enjoy writing reviews about restaurants we've dined at along with the food that is served. We are not traditional food critics. We don't have to worry about restaurants making special dishes for us. We're just the average customer going in to dine and then we write reviews.

Fresno, CA
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