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Old and free!
On the freedom of being old.

„Do it before you’re too old for it!“ That sentence still rings in my ears, as I’m sure it does in many of yours. And the well-meaning intention contained in it is undoubtedly justified. Waiting until after retirement is not a good idea.

A few years ago, I was convinced that my increasing age would limit my possibilities. And in my year, that is certainly true in some areas.

To my astonishment, however, I don’t experience an actual decline in my physical possibilities as a restriction at all. The fact that I can no longer hike in the mountains is likely actual, and it’s okay.

I can’t walk long distances anymore, and I remember being afraid that this would happen to me one day. Now that it has, I accept it without complaint and have found other ways to move.

These and other restrictions I could name are counterbalanced by the feeling of being freer than ever before in my life. Real and filled constraints that helped determine my life in earlier years no longer exist. I no longer have to prove that I know my job, and I no longer have to have a career. I no longer have to compete with anyone.

Nothing can happen to me anymore except dying and death. But that is nothing new in my life, but it has lost its menace. The time of my death has also lost its importance. It will probably come at an inopportune time anyway.

What I have gained through my age is the unclouded joy of success and the joie de vivre of younger people I meet along the way. That they achieve things that were not possible for me, that they venture into fields that were still closed to me. That they are full of curiosity and thirst for action. And it makes me happy when they are interested in my experience.

I have also gained the ability to walk through the world with greater composure and an open eye for the many small wonders and treasures that are to be found by the wayside that I used to miss. Now that I can’t go as fast, it’s easier to pause, look closely and notice how much beauty is to be found in the seemingly trivial.

All in all, in my case, age gains far outweigh the naturally existing limitations of age.