Four Tips For Growing Older But Not Slowing Down

Can we talk about recovery time?  I swear one minute I was able to go out until three in the morning and get up to work the next day with just a minimal amount of extra effort, now I try this and it takes a team of eight specially trained athletes, an aesthetician so I look somewhat alive and puppeteers from Sesame Street itself to keep me moving, and THAT still takes 3 days!

I won’t get into the horrible ways in which our bodies begin to turn against us as we pass through those magical decades ever advancing in our experience. From decreased levels of liver enzymes who just can’t keep up with that second pitcher of margaritas, our neuroplasticity (who made that a word?) makes our neuronal functions much slower to the biggest betrayal of all, our metabolism slows down the longer we live (that bitch!).  Listen, I said I wouldn’t get into it, I didn’t say I wouldn’t make you share in my painful scientific research. You can google it for the details.

So, what am I to do? I find myself in a time of my life that I want to experience the world around me again and revel in the laughter and the wonder of human connection.

Psychologists will point out that as we age, we naturally do let go of pieces of the control we latched onto for dear life in our less experienced years. It’s proportional so don’t go getting too excited, if you were Mother Theresa you won’t automatically become Traci Lords, but yes, your grip will relax.

We all want to open up in different ways, maybe you won’t make out with a stranger at the Leather Bar some weekend, or go on a crazy escapade on a haunted ship, or say yes to a pool party that is clothing optional, or make out with a man ‘til three in the morning after coffee (yes, making out is a big part of my world), but however you want to be more free and experience life it’s there for you.

I have four tips that no matter what your speed can help you along your way.

First, there is power in your words.  I talk to so many LGBT people within my generation and older who have made self-deprecation an art form.  In just one conversation I think I hear the word “old” at least 212 times. If you are a friend of mine, you are very used to me banishing this word from any conversation that we have.  There are far too many negative connotations to this silly utterance. Words when repeated enough times become expectations, expectations become judgements which in turn morph into conclusions and those conclusions solidify our beliefs. When we use the single word “old” we are saying things like; less than, value-less, regret.  Well forgive my French, but baiser ça! (You weren’t expecting actual French, were you?) Yeah, fuck that! So be intentional with your words and remove that singular one from your vocabulary and see how it helps!

Second, be open to adventure! I’m not asking you to bungee jump or swim with sharks, although if you want to I won’t stop you (but have you seen The Meg?!?) Practice being open to not having a plan.  Go where the road or the sexy co-pilot takes you. Most of us spend our weeks on schedules and deadlines, I challenge you to once a week just be. Yep, follow the wind and let adventure be your mantra. You never know when you could end up in Long Beach on the Queen Mary taking a ghost tour, very specific I know.  Just saying, I know from experience!

Number three, accept what your body is telling you… and then find the loopholes.  There is absolutely nothing wrong with listening to your body and it’s ever changing needs.  What’s that old adage about the easiest way to break the rules is to know the rule book? So sometimes the arthritis in my knee flares up and I really wanted to go on that hike, but I know how many Aleve it takes to survive, or maybe it’s adventure time and I can enjoy those outdoors by 4 wheeling or fire-pit hot dogs or 8,000 other ways. Maybe I am not cut out for 3:00 a.m. curfews, but when did fun out with people get segregated to a time of day? Brunch is a thing! Pool parties happen! We didn’t get this far in life without a bit of creativity, so start creating!

Finally, my personal golden rule, celebrate the moments with gratitude. Life is amazing from the smallest thing like coffee with yourself to a random adventure that can take you anywhere. Life is a journey to be experienced, not fretted or regretted. Revel in your journey, take these steps and see what can unfold. Now if you will excuse me, I’m thinking about doing yoga with goats… or maybe taking an improv class… or who knows.  I’m a grown ass man, I’ll do what I want!

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