Aging Gracefully- or why I’m still in my prime.

Next week I’ll be turning 34. In many ways I still feel as young as I did when I was in my early 20’s but in other ways I feel pretty old. I usually wake up with a stiff back. When I replace the bottle on the water cooler I make the “old man groan.” My knees hurt now when I run too much but they didn’t before. Like Garth Brooks said, “I’m too young to feel this old.”

I was watching an episode of Friends yesterday. Bruce Willis was the guest star and all the ladies on the show were smitten by him (of course). That got me thinking. He’s the oldest guy on the show, and yet he’s the most handsome and rugged. In the earlier seasons, Tom Selleck was the guest star and it was the same thing.

I went on IMDB to look up some data and saw that all the action heroes that I thought were cool when I was a kid didn’t hit their stride until their 30’s. Bruce Willis was 33 when he starred in Die Hard. Sylvester Stallone was 30 when he did Rocky. Harrison Ford was 35 when he played Han Solo, and 39 when he first played Indiana Jones. Arnold “The King” Schwarzenegger was 37 when he played the Terminator.

So now that I’m entering my mid-30’s is not the time for me to be feeling old. It’s the time for me to be stepping up my game. In the words of Doc Holliday, “I’m in my prime.”

So what is the key to aging gracefully? Fitness and nutrition must certainly play a big part in that. I had two grandpas (like most people), one who walked every single day and remained active well until he passed in his late 80’s, and another who led a pretty sedentary lifestyle and was pretty much in a rocking chair the entire time I ever knew him. Although I like spending much of my time on the couch watching tv and movies now in my youth, I like knowing that I can get up at any moment to go to the gym or on a hike, bike ride, run, or any thing I please. But, if you don’t use it, you lose it. A sedentary lifestyle in my youth will pretty much guarantee a sedentary lifestyle in my old age.

I saw this video last week of this 77 year old powerlifting grandma and she was talking about how beautiful it is at her age to be able to shovel her own snow, push her car out of the snow, lift her grandkids and carry her own groceries. I want to be able to be an “active senior citizen” when I get to that age. To do that, I need to be an “active middle age guy.”

Here’s to turning 34.