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  • Nan Russell

Too old, too young, or just right?

While I’m well past living in Young-Land, or even Middle-Land, what I know about age is this: There's no Goldilocks version of a “just right” age. Just right to do what?

I know old people half my age. In every generation past middle school, there are old people – old thinking, old actions, old mindsets. Old isn’t a rung on life’s ladder, and getting older isn’t a choice we’re given, but whether we arrive old or older, often is.

My yardstick is simple: I’ll know I’m just getting older if I’m excited to get up in the morning, awed by nature, find wisdom in past struggles, read the travel section, learn and try new things, meet new people, stay relevant, love loving, and find my life’s to-do-list growing.

But I’ll know I’m old when I stop reading the New York Times, give up on dreams, become a passenger in my life, think more about yesterday than tomorrow, stop watching new movies and embracing new technologies, only do what I’ve done before, and never throw another snowball.

Like an older river that flows more gently than a new one, I've arrived at a different "just right" age of possibility, discovery, and contribution. Who knows how many books I might write, people I might touch, or adventures I might experience at this age?

Afterall, I’m way younger than Benjamin Franklin who framed the U.S. Constitution when he was 82, and Grandma Moses who started painting at 80, and then completed 1500 paintings. In my way of thinking, every age is just the right age to keep learning, try something new, make a difference, and savor life.


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