THE BLOG
05/26/2016 07:15 am ET Updated May 26, 2017

Don't Act Your Age, Act Beyond It

It gets really hot where I live, in the hills of Southern California, so a couple of summers ago I thought "Enough of this!" and Googled my way through pages of hot tubs, spa tubs, above ground small swimming pools, only to realize they were all waaay outside my budget. And forget about a "real" swimming pool -- it would never fit in my yard.

Then I thought, "What about a wading pool?" That was certainly affordable, and from what I could see, two adults could sit comfortably in one. Off I went to the store, and as I'm checking out, the cashier says with a smile, "Got some little ones coming to visit?" "No," I replied, "this is for me." The cashier frowns, "Aren't you a little old for this?" Huh . . .

The next day, my boyfriend and I pumped the wading pool up in the yard, and I hauled the hose over, started filling it with water. My neighbor wandered over and said "Hey, I didn't know you had kids in the family." "I don't!" I exclaimed, "And he doesn't either!" I said, pointing to my boyfriend. "Aren't you guys a little old for this kinda thing?" my neighbor said. Not again! "Come back in an hour," I replied, "And you tell me."

When my neighbor returned, he found my boyfriend and myself lounging in the cool waters of the wading pool, a beach umbrella shading us from the sun, a bowl of guacamole and chips at hand, alongside a pitcher of chilled margaritas. "I'll get my bathing suit," my neighbor said, running back to his house. "Nope!" I said, "Just room for two!"

Yes, I know -- I was being smug. But here's the thing: what are you telling yourself you're too old to do? Ride a motorcycle? Go dancing? Join a singing group? A bicycle club? Learn a language? Play the ukulele? Climb a mountain? Wear shorts in public? Or a bikini? Or get a tattoo?

I love the Walgreen's TV ad where two 50+ ladies, rather than diss a young woman for her purple locks, follow her example and turn up at their high school reunion with purple streaked hair, primed for a night of fun and dancing.

Life is meant to be fun! Yes, life is serious and full of challenges and often far more complicated than we'd like, but with it all, life is meant to be joyous. Just watch animals and kids, they know it. What says you're supposed to stop finding the fun and laughter in life just because you've turned a certain age? Which depending on who you talk to, is anything from 40 on. Yikes! Considering how many of us are living well into our 80's and 90's, cutting yourself off from enjoying the amazing variety of life's pleasures for some 40+ years is a pretty depressing thought.

You may not be physically fit enough to engage in some of the fun activities you'd like to enjoy. OK, fine, so get fit, or follow the sterling example of so many differently abled folk, from amputee basketball players to one-armed surfers, who find an alternative way to enjoy their favorite sport/hobby anyway. You may lack the skills to dance the tango, or speak Italian, or brew your own micro-beer, or splash paint artistically across a canvas. Guess what? You can learn! Learning a new skill is not age-related. You can learn at any age, given patience and perseverance.

But you know what holds most of us back more than anything? It's the fear of what others will think of us, their opinion of us, if we undertake something "youthful." Of being thought inappropriate, or stupid, or awkward. Of being embarrassed or humiliated. Of getting that look that says "for pity's sake, act your age."

I say, act beyond your age! Meaning, have the gumption, the courage, to make the choices that resonate with you, that fit for who you want to be and what you want to do at every stage of life, regardless of the number of years you've inhabited the planet.

Don't let what others might think get in the way of your joy. Certainly, "with harm to none" should always be your motto, and "none" includes you. But beyond that common-sense dictate, go on and do whatever rings your bells.

It's your life. Make the most of it, and enjoy.

P.S. Wading pools are really fun.

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