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Am I Showing My Age Bias? July 27, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Happiness, Health & Wellness, Humor, Mindfulness.

The-Pink-PantherPoets and Writers sent the following Fiction Prompt a few days ago:

Some people slow down in their golden years, taking it easy and enjoying the family and friends gathered around them in the comfort of their community, while others try to continue to live like their younger selves.  

This week, write a story about an older person who still has the mindset and physical stamina of a twenty-something. How does this affect her interactions with her peers? What are her secrets? Is she one of those people who wishes to live forever, or does she simply make a habit of staying healthy?

Think about how a person’s biological age and true age are related and what happens when they are in conflict.

As I read “what are her secrets,” I sensed a dose of age bias on the prompter’s part ~ an unspoken message that continuing to “live like [our] younger selves” should be the goal of our golden years.

Why?  Wasn’t that the job of our younger selves?


What’s wrong with slowing down and taking it easy, while enjoying family, friends, the comfort of community . . . and the occasional cigar?

Do we need to head to the clubs for drinking, dancing, and revelry on Friday and Saturday nights, staying out ’til the cock crows, in order to crow about it to our peers?

Is there a continued benefit to waking with hung-over head on Saturday and Sunday mornings?  If so, I missed the memo.

I am delighted I no longer have the mindset of a twenty-something.  At that age, I was not nearly as content as I am these days.


There’s a line in Desiderata that I love:  “Take kindly the counsel of years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth.”

I agree with that sentiment . . . One Hundred Percent!

The daily decisions I face are made with accumulated wisdom.  I can’t think of a single one my present self would defer to my twenty-something self . . . not on matters of fashion, food, movies, books, bars, clubs, or how to spend my leisure time.


That said, having the physical stamina of a twenty-something would rock!

Aah . . . that’s better!

If you knew an “older person” with the mindset of a twenty-something, would you want to know his secret?

Or would you encourage him to get counseling?



1. Don - July 27, 2014

“Encourage him to get counseling.” 🙂
Who I am now in a thirty year old, that would be heaven. Great post Nancy. I just love that picture, cigar and all. 🙂

nrhatch - July 27, 2014

Yes! I’d like to be the “inside me” (intellect, spirit, emotional maturity, psyche, experiences, memories, patience, life lessons, etc.) packaged in the body I had at 37 . . . when I had the stamina to “damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead.”

2. bluebee - July 27, 2014

Oh yes, I’d rather be 50 than 20. Who needs all that angst?!

nrhatch - July 27, 2014

I wasted far too much time using an external reference point back then ~ worrying, wondering, and pondering what “they” thought about me.

Now I focus on my internal compass. Far less angsty.

3. Silver in the Barn - July 27, 2014

Well, I couldn’t agree more. I can’t imagine living the rest of my life looking over my shoulder at my “lost youth.” But I could do with the physical stamina I once had…..and the ability to sleep through the night. Yeah, that would be nice.

nrhatch - July 27, 2014

Barbara ~ I’ve a sleep tip for you.

Try eating 1-4 Brazil Nuts every day (assuming allergies are not an issue). I picked up some yesterday b/c I enjoy them and did some quick research to check their nutritional benefit. Found several people (who eat them to improve thyroid function) who said they started sleeping better the First Night ~ due to the selenium.

Anyway, last night I had a GREAT night sleep ~ 5 hours straight followed by another 3 hours. Coincidence or the placebo effect of auto-suggestion? I don’t care. Because SLEEP ROCKS!

Silver in the Barn - July 27, 2014

My sleep is often disrupted by fourteen-year-old Berkley (my Westie) who isn’t feeling up to snuff lately. And once awake, forget it. Five hours straight of sleep sounds perfectly luxurious and I will investigate the Brazil Nut tip. Yes, sleep does rock!!

nrhatch - July 27, 2014

Yup. Pets pawsitively take precedence.

Tigger is an early riser these days which impacts our sleep. Since BFF is better at taking cat naps during the day, he gets up to deal with the kitty while I try to go back to sleep.

I just did another quick Google of “Brazil Nuts and Sleep” and found more than isolated anecdotal evidence that the selenium in nuts and seeds improves sleep.

4. ericjbaker - July 27, 2014

I’m seeing a lot of “remember this from your childhood?” puff pieces popping up around the ‘net these days. The forgotten childhood moments are from 2003. Apparently the 23-year-old writer is unaware some people live past age 30 these days.

nrhatch - July 27, 2014

Bwahaha ~ even 23-year-olds need to celebrate their childhood memories. Two of our nieces (21 and 17) were here today and we did some reminiscing about their childhood. Lots of laughs.

I remember when I thought 30 was OLD.

5. Eric Tonningsen - July 27, 2014

If I knew an “older person” with the mindset of a twenty-something, I’d say to myself — good on you, if that’s your choice.

nrhatch - July 27, 2014

A twenty-something mindset might explain why 50 year old guys drive around in convertibles trying to pick up hot chicks. :mrgreen:

Eric Tonningsen - July 27, 2014

It could well be. Yet who is anyone to judge them (men or women) if no harm is being done? I don’t see the rationale but that’s simply me. I’ll take being an “older person” with a matured mindset any day.

nrhatch - July 27, 2014

I wrote this post because I believe that society’s undue emphasis on youth (and bias against aging) IS harmful ~ to the individual and to society as a whole:

* Spouses cheat to prove virility. Trust is lost. Marriages split up.
* People undergo painful surgeries to erase signs of aging via tummy tucks, boob lifts, botox injections.
* Kids learn to evaluate their worth by how they look, rather than by the content of their character.
* Etc.

That’s why I love the lines in Desiderata. It doesn’t mean we have to collapse into a rocking chair on the front porch, but we can strive to be comfortable in our own skin.

6. granny1947 - July 27, 2014

You come up with such wise stuff…I thought you were older…damn….you are just a baby!

nrhatch - July 27, 2014

Thanks, Granny! I’m old enough to know better . . . but young enough to give it a try anyway. 😎

7. Grannymar - July 27, 2014

Sometimes I think I am living backwards. At twenty I carried plenty of responsibility on my young shoulders, now I am free to enjoy my second childhood and I do it my way.

nrhatch - July 27, 2014

For different reasons, same here. In my early 20’s, in law school and starting my law career, I carried more responsibility on my shoulders than I do today. In part because of using someone else’s definition of “success.”

Now, I equate success with happiness ~ being happy and adding to the happiness of others. It’s a better fit.

8. Jill Weatherholt - July 27, 2014

I’ve always felt age is a state of mind. I don’t think about my age, I go by how I feel, which is much better and wiser than I did in my 20s and 30s.

nrhatch - July 27, 2014

I feel better by almost every measure these days ~ but I’m a bit slower with less energy. That’s why I’d love to package my current life experiences in the body I had at 37.

9. In the Stillness of Willow Hill - July 27, 2014

Hmmm…..I think that wanting to place 60 year old wisdom in a 30 year old body is a true case for reflection. We aren’t our minds, bodies, or thoughts. If we still have a desire to have that beautiful young body….then our experiences are telling us to let go of clinging to physicality. We all struggle with this!

nrhatch - July 27, 2014

It’s a not a desire to have a beautiful young body . . . it’s the desire to sleep better, have more energy, have fewer aches and pains, etc.. :mrgreen:

In the Stillness of Willow Hill - July 27, 2014

Hi Love, that does sound wonderful. I’m just speaking from my own experience of being aware of judgments I put on myself for not having the healthy or youthful body I used to have. I love the discussions you are hosting around this topic!

nrhatch - July 27, 2014

Here’s to embracing our “laugh lines” ~> we EARNED them!

10. NancyTex - July 27, 2014

My relentless pursuit of better health could be construed as me wanting to hang onto (or recapture) my youth. In truth it’s about living my best and most fulfilling life. I love that the hard work I put in every day (most days ;-)) gives me energy, strength and a generally positive outlook. I might not ear the same size I did at 20, but I’m a whole lot happier these days!

nrhatch - July 27, 2014

I agree with your choices, NT. Exercise is the fountain of youth even if we don’t look the same as we did ~ we feel stronger and more energetic than when we sit around like a blob of Play*Doh.

Today, I hung out at the beach (riding the waves) with two of our nieces ~> and the years fell away! We had a blast. So did my sister and her hubby. Whee! 😎

NancyTex - July 27, 2014

Awesome feeling, isn’t it? Glad you had a fun (and youthful) day!

nrhatch - July 27, 2014

Fun from first to last . . . with lots of laughs thrown in for good measure.

11. Patricia - July 27, 2014

At 66 I am happy with who I am…at last. I don’t mind growing old. I find it is not at all what I thought it would be. There are a few not so pleasant things but overall life is good. There are the moments of “what if” this or that should happen. But what happens happens and I will do my best to make the best of it. Goodness, I just realized I could be your mother!

nrhatch - July 27, 2014

Agreed! But you are NOT old enough to be my mother ~ I’m in my mid-50’s. And happy to be here. I’d love to have my life experiences packaged into the body I HAD at 37 (when I slept better, had more stamina, and had fewer aches and pains).

But I wouldn’t want a “do over.” Life right now is good.

Patricia - July 27, 2014

Oops I misread..I thought you said you were 37. That’s what happens when you are old. 🙂 I think having a younger body and an older mind sounds good. And definitely would not want to go back in time!

nrhatch - July 27, 2014

Nope, not your fault. Poor wording on my part in my original comment to Don ~ which I’ve since revised.

Now I know why Granny1947 called me a “baby.” 😎

12. Behind the Story - July 27, 2014

In the fiction prompt, they suggest writing about an “older person who still has the mindset and physical stamina of a twenty-something.” It’s interesting that they’d put mindset and stamina in the same sentence. I wouldn’t mind more physical stamina, but who would want to throw away the confidence, knowledge and wisdom gained over the years?

nrhatch - July 27, 2014

Exactly my thought, Nicki. Having a twenty-something mindset would feel like a HUGE step backward . . . and not in a good way.

The prompt prompted me to picture a sixty-something guy in the midst of a mid-life crisis, wearing too tight jeans, a toupee, and gold BLING, driving a convertible with the top down to scope out chicks at the beach in order to score a trophy wife. 😎

Here’s to confidence, knowledge, and wisdom . . . the counsel of years.

13. Three Well Beings - July 28, 2014

I completely agree with you on this, Nancy. I do NOT want the mindset of my younger years. For one thing, I had a lot of “stuff” I had to leave behind and it took me a lot of time and hard work to do that. i’m more clear headed today than I was “back then” and I am very happy with that. I wouldn’t mind being 40-ish again! LOL! But not 20. 🙂

nrhatch - July 28, 2014

Here’s to leaving unnecessary baggage behind! It’s such a liberating feeling to “let go” of the “stuff” we no longer need.

I often see people who value consistency, with the mindset that “who we were” should be the sole determinant of “who we are” and “who we will be.” That makes no sense to me.

As we learn new things and have new experience, we should change, grow, and evolve, not stagnate as our twenty-something selves.

14. laurakelly2 - July 28, 2014

Lord help me ( and the world) if I were to live like I was 20 again! Yes, there was some definite age bias in the prompter’s writing.Embracing our true age does not mean we have to sit and watch the world go by and experiencing life to the fullest doesn’t mean we constantly re-life our college days.
I would like to think I carry the best of my past self with the wisdom and grace of my present older self. For me, the best thing about being in my 20’s was that I believed the possibilities for my life were endless and I had endless hope for the future and loved learning. With age some people do lose their zest for life, so in that regard I hope to stay young at heart. Even so, the love of life, the excitement of a new day, and a desire to learn take on new and beautiful dimensions as I age. I hope to live my remaining years showing others the beauty of aging well and the joy of a life well lived. I am looking at each year I live past age 50 as a badge of honor 🙂

nrhatch - July 28, 2014

Yes! I love how you put that, Laura ~> that sense of limitless possibilities and zest for life are often at their zenith when we’re in our twenties. In fact, perhaps that’s the mindset the prompter meant ~> that joie de vivre, love of life, all things are possible mentality that made us feel so alive!

So much better than a “been dere, done dat” or “same old, same old” mentality. :mrgreen:

15. Rainee - July 28, 2014

Well said Nancy! I wanted to click the like button but it was awfully slow coming up on screen 🙂

nrhatch - July 28, 2014

Thanks, Rainee. I have noticed issues with the like button on several blogs ~ a bit of a cyber glitch?

16. LadyBlueRose's Thoughts Into Words - July 28, 2014

I am so enjoying my “golden years” though silver is a better color I think
Good post, I agree….I surrendered youth a long time ago,
Good post, Thank you, I enjoyed your thoughts…
Take Care…You Matter…

nrhatch - July 28, 2014

Your comment makes me wonder why we call them our “Golden Years” when so many have Silver hair. 😀

Here’s to being filled with vibrancy and vitality . . . at any age.

17. Pix Under the Oaks - July 28, 2014

I would love to have the physical stamina and good bones of a 20 year old so I could ride horses again with less worries but I like my age for numerous reasons!

nrhatch - July 28, 2014

That’s exactly how I feel, Pix. As a kid, I felt I could “bounce back” without cracking brittle bones. I slid off the back of a horse once with barely a whisper of a whimper. I hate to think what might happen if that happened again.

But being HERE is a great place to BE.

18. Val Boyko - July 28, 2014

I’d drive ’em to the counsellor’s office that’s for sure! Thanks for the smile and reflections today!

nrhatch - July 28, 2014

Thanks, Val. Enjoyed your 2-minute meditation ~ mindful moments matter.

19. jannatwrites - July 28, 2014

I’d take the physical stamina of a twenty-something that wasn’t my younger self (I wasn’t all that fit!) I think I’d still like to be busy when I’m older, but not the same busy I was in my twenties, or even now. I want to do things I want to do… not the things I ‘have’ to for reasons that aren’t my own.

nrhatch - July 28, 2014

I’m with you all the way, Janna . . . or way ahead of you if you compare our respective ages. :mrgreen:

Sitting around doing nothing holds little appeal for me ~ it’s great to have a myriad of interests that engage our attention. As we let go of our twenty-something interests, we make room for thirty-something interests. With luck, our interests keep evolving as we move through our forties, fifties, sixties, and seventies.

By way of example, two of my earlier interests (shopping and buying stuff) transformed into 3 current interests (downsizing, decluttering, and donating). The more stuff I “kick to the curb” the more freedom I feel. This month, we gave a couch to one of our nieces. I’m excited by the possibilities as our 10 nieces and nephews start to set up house and need acquisitions.

In fact, I’m giddy with anticipation! 😎

20. diannegray - July 28, 2014

For some reason I have more mental and physical stamina now (in my mid-fifties) than I did in my 20s. It could be something to do with my MS because it hit me in my 20s and wasn’t diagnosed until two years ago. I was very tired and had lots of odd symptoms between 20 and 35. The docs told me I was a hypochondriac (don’t you just love them). The neurosurgeon two years ago was astounded that it had never been picked up before. But by mid 30s I started to overcome whatever it was. It’s just plain weird and if I knew the secret of how I managed to control it and get stronger over the years I’d shout it to the world! 😀 My only thoughts on this are that I moved from a freezing climate to the tropics at about age 32 and (because we were poor) I lived solely on fish, mud crabs and fresh fruit off the trees for about 10 years!) That’s the only thing I can think of, but I don’t really care because I feel better now than I ever have 🙂

Sorry I’ve gone off track here 😀

nrhatch - July 28, 2014

Yay! It might be “living off the land” instead of eating the junk food in so many diets that caused your health to rebound. In any event, it’s a GOOD thing. Glad that you’re feeling so much better these days. Health and Wellness are prize possessions, indeed.

21. dreamingthruthetwilight - July 29, 2014

I loved reading this. Being comfortable wherever one is ..that’s definitely the most desirable thing. When the grey hairs started showing up persistently, I did dye my hair a couple of times. It was admittedly discomforting to realise that the flush of youth was behind you. And yet when I tweaked my thoughts a little bit and decided to accept my age, I began enjoying it. Less hassles. And yet, I would like to remain young in spirit and continue to revel in whatever life offers each day. I would like to still wake up to the hope of filling the present with the best that is around. Actually I’d like to be just like my one and half year old grandson in spirit 🙂

nrhatch - July 29, 2014

Being around young children is a great way to retain youthful wonder ~> as if we are seeing something for the FIRST time. They also remind us to stay in the NOW, where joy and peace and happiness reside.

Enjoy being where you are!

22. Mridubala - July 29, 2014

Interesting post….I don’t know what it would be like getting old…but this post gives me lot of hope… 🙂 ❤

nrhatch - July 29, 2014

The future, for each of us, is uncertain . . . filled with unseen possibilities. Any of us might be hit by a bus next week, or side-lined by disease.

But we can take it one step at a time ~ allowing the way to teach us the way as the path unfolds before us.

23. livelytwist - July 30, 2014

Nancy, I’m glad I read this because I’m writing a post about age, though from a slightly different angle. Like you, I am older and wiser, more confident and content. I think of my twenties sometimes and shudder. So, no I would not want to know the secret of an older person with a twenty-something mindset. The body, ah, I could pay for that secret 🙂

The greater skill is the ability to engage both older and younger people from where you are. It doesn’t mean being like them, it just means understanding their POV. Just my two cents . . . 🙂

nrhatch - July 30, 2014

Yes! I enjoy being around people of all ages ~ from tiny toddlers to teens to young adults to middle-agers to seniors.

Interacting with diverse POV’s keeps us open minded. And prevents hardening of the attitudes. 😎

24. I am J - August 2, 2014

About the only thing I miss about my twenty-something years are the friends and family with whom I shared so many happy memories who are no longer alive to create more happy memories together. I’ve lost so many dear ones far too young. Otherwise, I wouldn’t want to “know it all” again like I did back then. I’m content in my current “senior” state of utter confusion and technical ignorance. 🙂

nrhatch - August 2, 2014

I hear you! I would love to be 20 again with my grandfathers, great aunt, and grandmother still around. But not if I had to relive the past 30 years.

It’s been hard work and once was enough.

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