© 2015 Kebba Buckley Button, MS, OM. World Rights Reserved.
When I was in my twenties, for a while, I worked for a State agency. At that time, all Arizona State agencies offered employees a wellness screening. One of the big benefits of the health screening, done from a questionnaire, was that each person got a wellness score, their “health age”. I had never heard of “health age” before. As they defined it at the time, it was a measure of your actual age worked together with factors such as weight, exercise, length of commute, and whether you smoked. I was so pleased: my health age came in 5 years younger than my actual age.
I think of health age again every time I hear someone proclaim, “I’m old!” When I hear that, I wonder what rights or social rights they are claiming for themselves. Also, some people talk about how old they feel at tired times, such as when they’re waking up.
Age is just a number, and mine is unlisted.
We have many ideas about what age means. Age is a condition that supposedly moves in one direction and increases, independent of your choices. However, nothing can be further from the truth! I think youth is all about how you feel. And we have many choices we can make to feel great. If you feel young, energetic, flexible, and generally healthy, and you have peace within, then you are young. If you feel old, tired, stiff, achy, stressed, and generally unhealthy, then your health age is getting older–sorry! In an example from my own life, when I was 26 to 33, I had horrible, burning, crippling arthritis and felt very old. I moved stiffly, and other than my face, I probably looked old. But, I beat the condition in 8 years, and I began to feel very young and healthy. Read some of my adventure with that condition at http://wp.me/pw4HM-lB.
My husband recounts a story of an amazing woman he met while hiking the Grand Canyon one year. The Grand Canyon trails are long, and some are steep. If you go down into the Canyon, you also have to take one or another of the trails back out, no matter how much work it is. My husband used to go hike the Canyon yearly with some very fit middle-aged male friends. They would all work up to their Canyon trek, practicing on local Phoenix mountain trails, of which there are many. They would even wear loaded packs on these practice hikes, to be sure they were really fit for the Canyon.
Once on the Canyon trail, my husband’s group was puffing along, finding the hiking to be strenuous. A very petite, senior-looking woman with blunt-cut white hair came by, moving rapidly along the same trail, but coming out of the Canyon. My husband, who was then in his sixties, expressed his admiration to her, for her vitality and speed. She pulled her chin up and stood straight and tall at her possible five full feet of height. She gave my husband a stern look and said, “[Y]oung man, obviously you don’t know who I am! I lead walks like this [13 miles round trip] a few times a month for the Sierra Club!” Let’s say this woman’s health age was rather young, and she was very vital.
So are you ready now to challenge your age numbers? Consultant Bara Penn-Atkins (www.sunrisebeginnings.com) is an expert in leadership, retirement readiness, life options, and how to build a life of significance. Atkins has written a book, rightly called 70 is the New 40. In her chapter called Discover Your Power!, Atkins describes a transition all people go through:
As a person celebrates age forty and beyond, something mystical and magical happens. How we feel life should be measured begins to take a different form. There is an awakening of the self, and our individual independence becomes profoundly important. …Internally, the psyche takes on a new maturity, and it only gets better and more positive with age.
~ Barbara Penn-Atkins
In Atkins’s book, she offers us exercises to write out our challenges, opportunities, and meanings. She shows us ways to transform the 3 D’s of aging– disease, disability, and depression—into 3 new D’s: discovery, discipline, and dedication. So how do you feel: fit, healthy, vivid, contributing? A person who is 70 now can feel the way a 40-year-old used to feel. Abraham Lincoln famously said,
In the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years.
~ Abraham Lincoln
I’m not saying our age numbers are entirely bogus. However, age and aging do not have to stress us. Does your life fit you? How old do you feel? And what’s in your years? I would love to hear your thoughts.
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- Kebba Buckley Button is a stress management expert. She also has a natural healing practice and is an ordained minister. She is the author of the award-winning book, Discover The Secret Energized You (http://tinyurl.com/b44v3br), plus the 2013 book, Peace Within: Your Peaceful Inner Core, Second Edition(http://tinyurl.com/mqg3uvc ). Her newest book is Sacred Meditation: Embracing the Divine, available through her office. Just email SacredMeditation@kebba.com.
- For an appointment or to ask Kebba to speak for your group: firstname.lastname@example.org .