I keep hearing that “age is just a number.” If that’s true, then youth is also just a number.
The whole “number” part of aging applies only to the years you’ve (so far) survived. The remainder of the equation has to do with how your body is doing. Whether you still have mostly original equipment or have had to install after-market replacements. Those whose DNA or good luck have allowed them to feel young tend to ascribe their well-being to a positive attitude. It’s easy to believe that when all the parts are in good working order.
After that, life isn’t about your attitude. It’s about what works, what doesn’t. And what you do about it.
I had a great attitude when I discovered I had cancer in both breasts. A positive approach was not going to make the cancer vanish. I figured it would be pretty clear sailing after that, but much to my surprised (dismayed) chagrin, a few years later I discovered I had a failing heart. Which I’d dismissed as “something else.” Maybe psychological.
Reality crashed in and I had to face it or I would die. A positive attitude wasn’t nearly enough. I wanted so badly for it to be untrue. A medical error. How could I be that sick?
I learned a positive attitude works best in conjunction with good doctors, appropriate care, and commonsense. Sometimes, you have to let your body take the lead. If you want to live, that is.
Mind-over-matter and “age is just a number” are overused platitudes. Being cheerful won’t fix a non-working heart valve, remove cancer, or replace your knees or hips. People who believe a bright smile and a positive attitude are the same as youth and good health are in for a rude awakening. Sooner or later, it comes to all.
On the day when reality crashes in, that is when you need to be positive. Life doesn’t begin and end with youth. Accepting the real limitations life imposes requires guts, determination, and an ability to roll with the punches. Courage is accepting that you can’t do all the stuff you used to do while finding stuff to do you never considered. Or figure out how to do old things in a new way.
It doesn’t take much courage to face the day if you feel great and your body works. If fate decrees otherwise, you need plan B. That’s when you find out what you’re made of.
Unless you die early, youth ends. For everyone. During most of life, we aren’t young. That’s okay. If youth were the only thing worth having, we’d all be dead before 30.
There is life after youth. I think that’s when the real fun begins.