Is Age Really Just a Number


What a wonderfully inspiring topic! My youngest son has just celebrated his 21st birthday and in his birthday speech, which he was relatively sober for (relatively…). He did mention, among many things, how happy he was to have parents who were role models for treating age as just a number.

Now before you think I’m just giving Liz and myself a bit of a wrap here, we both really do treat our age as just a number… not ignoring it, but celebrating in being fit and healthy in mind and body, and making intentional choices of life activities that help us to continue to live happy, flourishing prosperous and meaningful lives.

George Vaillant’s book on Aging Well and Ellen Langer’s book Counter Clockwise, are a couple of excellent books I highly recommend for anyone interested in this topic… and as we’re all ageing, it’s probably something we all ought to be at least a little interested in.

Having read fairly extensively on this subject, I still cannot admit to welcoming the idea that I will die at some stage.

I accept it, but I do not welcome it.

I am particularly fond of this quote from George Vaillant: ‘The mission of positive aging is very clear: to add more life to years, not just more years to life.’

Liz’s parents are both in their late 80’s and are wonderful role models for us both on how to live a full life in older age. Although they both have some restrictive movement, they adjust. Although they don’t have much money, they don’t perceive themselves as poor in any way.

Liz’s parents find ways to do what they’ve always enjoyed… maybe a little differently, maybe taking a little longer, but they find ways.

As Liz and I are now in our mid-fifties, we certainly don’t even think about labels of middle, or even old age… it’s just a number! We’ve been married 30 years this December, and there’s every prospect that we have at least another 30 years to share and experience the joys of a life. That’s our entire adult life to date, still to be lived with new and exciting experiences together – how wonderful!

We strongly believe our lifestyle choices have, and will continue to help us be healthy (physically and mentally) well into older age… and Liz and I both want to continue to be role models for our two young adult sons of what a loving, healthy relationship can be, and in doing so, role model what it means to age with practical wisdom.

And surely one of life’s purposes is to acquire practical wisdom and to demonstrate it through the application of our strengths and management of our weaknesses, all with the aim of positively impacting not only our own lives, but the lives of others in our various life roles.


David Penglase CSP


David Penglase is a leading authority on Personal and Workplace Prosperity. He is author of Intentionomics (top 10 best-seller on Amazon in two categories), an international conference speaker and corporate educator.

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