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The Hardest Part About Getting Old That Took Me 25 Years to Learn
And the bizarre way to slow ageing down
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Age is a boogie monster.
It hides under our beds and we all pretend it’s not there. Then one day the monster comes out to play. On that day you’re never the same again. For some of you, it hasn’t happened yet.
It’s why you live the way you do.
Here are a few big ideas on aging to help you.
Don’t live like a dead person
I run a writing academy. The #1 reason people tell me they don’t write online is some version of “I’m worried what people think.”
I don’t have this problem, thanks to the aging boogie monster.
In 2015 I had a near-miss with cancer. It was literally, almost, lights out. Off to the graveyard followed by $2 sandwiches and niceties.
Since then I’ve never been the same again. I give very few f*cks about basically anything. What’s the point?
Too many people are living as if they’re already dead. They haven’t had a visit from the aging boogie monster. They don’t have what I call “mortality motivation.”
That’s why we all need a health scare to wake us the hell up.
You will die. It won’t be pretty. So stop wasting your freaking life worrying about dumb stuff. Nobody is thinking about you in their heads, sorry to say. Move on.
Parents getting old is the first sign
We all naturally think in our tiny brains that we will live forever. That science will find a way or it won’t be us that dies.
The first sign that death is coming is your parents getting old.
My dad recently had a massive health problem. It nearly killed him. For almost a year I thought about it every day. The idea of a life with no dad.
No one to call if I need to know how to put up a picture hook. No one to give me advice on a shed. No one to check the oil in my car or change my tires.
My parents are finally at the ripe old age for death. It’s scary.
They have done so much for me and their mark is left on everything I do. I’m not even sure how you say thank you. As they age all I’ve tried to do is make sure they have a good diet and exercise plenty. But that’s not enough to stop death.
The hardest reality is once my parents are gone, I’m the next in line at the supermarket queue called heaven. Sometimes the young die before the elderly, but if your luck goes well, then you die after the older generation ahead of you dies.
It’s a grim thought.
But I don’t get depressed by it. No. I get motivated as hell by it.
Kids that stay young forever
That’s my dream.
I don’t ever want my daughter to grow up. She’s a baby and I want her to stay that way forever. It’s so cute. Every day is a dream. I don’t need anything else in life. Just give me as much time possible with her each day and I’m happy for eternity.
Now she’s 7 months old things have gone fast. On some days I feel like I miss too much of her life. I’d rather not be at work.
But she has to grow up because age can’t be paused.
I can’t stop my own ageing either but I can be more present. I can say yes to my daughter and no to another meeting or podcast. So I do.
The prick that is grey hair
Over the last two years I’ve started to get grey hair.
To stave off the beast I have more regular haircuts. When my hair is short you can’t see the grey hairs as much, although my dumbo ears stick out more with less hair.
In the last three months the grey hairs are having babies. The bastards are breeding like rabbits. Now they’re everywhere. People can see them and they comment. I never thought my hair would become old.
I eat a clean diet and thought it would save my hair. But that’s the thing about aging – we all age differently and your genes determine more than lifestyle does.
My genes say that once you’re 30 grey hair will take over (I just look at my relatives for proof). I’ve tried to fight that reality with kale but it hasn’t worked.
And probably won’t.
So the only solution I have is to wear the grey hair loud and proud. Old age is wisdom after all, isn’t it?
Age has also come with a sh*t tonne of responsibilities
A year ago I rented a townhouse for $2000 a month.
I paid half and my wife paid the rest. Now we have a home mortgage that number has tripled. Interest rates are skyrocketing so we still have three more rate rises that will get added to that number, making it $7000-$8000 a month.
The bills a year ago were a few hundred dollars. We didn’t use heating or cooling and we rarely bought clothes or stuff for ourselves.
Now with a baby, we’re buying stuff every day. She needs diapers, wipes, new clothes because she keeps growing, toys to play with, baby monitors, and a million other things – all the time.
So she can play outside safely, we had to level the land we live on and pull up all the concrete at a cost of $50,000. We had to put up a $16,000 fence too, so she can’t escape our home prison and run off with the kids from daycare.
And daycare isn’t cheap either. We pay $160 a day for her to go there and eat fairy bread with the other babies.
It feels like as you get older the gods say “Here you go, mate, take all this financial burden that creates enormous stress while you’re at it.”
That’s what it is – stress.
When your expenses are low life is care-free. Extra money is nice to have but it’s not a requirement. Once you’re older with a family and responsibilities, you can’t avoid the inevitable.
This past week I caught the flu from my daughter. I worked all the way through.
I couldn’t take a day off to be sick because who else would run my online business and pay my mortgage for me? No one.
The extra financial burden of getting older isn’t something I want you to be negative about. Instead, I want you to focus on creating income-generating skills and learning about how money works.
When you do, the financial burden of aging gets easier.
And right now that lesson is what’s keeping me from experiencing financial ruin. The seeds I planted in the stock market and crypto all those years ago are feeding me their produce.
The laughable idea of a job
As I’ve got older the desire to be told what to do has decreased.
A job is great while you’re young. It’s how you learn. But as you get older and get closer to death it feels crazy not to try build your own thing and attempt a side business. I’m so glad I made the jump 2.5 years ago and didn’t let fear stop me.
The last thing you want in your dying days is a truckload of regrets from all the things you could have done in life but didn’t.
Regrets make death 10x worse.
Just ask the dying.
The hardest part about getting old is…
You never feel good about aging.
Whether you’re 5 years old turning 6, or 95 years old turning 96 – aging isn’t good news. It’s the one bug we humans have and it’s never going away.
No matter how long you think about aging, there’ll never be a good answer. So spending time thinking about getting old is useless. My advice is to live life and spend time having experiences that’ll make you feel nostalgic.
That’s how you increase happiness and decrease regrets.
The way to slow aging down
It’s scientifically proven that our perception of time increases as we get older.
This might make getting older feel even worse to you. But there’s good news: you can slow down time.
You don’t need a time machine or a fancy pill from The Matrix. No. All you need to do to slow down time is…
Be more present.
Stop looking at your damn phone
Turn off all notifications
Don’t listen to podcasts when you walk
Spend more time in nature
Do things with actual meaning
Work less hours
Hang around less negative people that light your time on fire
Dare to use a meditation app like “Calm”
Biggest trick: experience more randomness so your brain stops running on default patterns that make time appear to speed up.
When you do those things, you reach a higher state of consciousness.
Stop thinking about getting old. Focus on living in the present.
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