What a week on Gozo with a group of 70 and 80 year-olds taught me about life and ageing.
Great stuff Matt. Just had a lengthy conversation about the future, aging (I was 58 the other week) and how important friends and family are. Then coincidentally (serendipity ?) I spot your story and it’s pure magic. Be more Brian indeed ! :)
Excellent read Matt. I find myself often referencing Last of the summer wine as one of my later life goals. This really came into focus when we were all locked down for the first time. 8 weeks of not working, hanging out with friends walking and riding, (official government guidelines ) it brought back memories of endless summers spent larking about, getting up to high jinx. The future is bright if we can learn a little from Compo and the boys.
As Clegg once said
"If at first you don't succeed, pack it in."
Matt, that’s one of the best things I’ve read for a long time. Call it serendipity but I’ve been reading Mathew McConaughey’s book (Christmas gift), and he talks about the monster being the “future” and with age comes the experience to “look at it in the eye”. I like the sentiment.And as I’m growing older, I’m trying to learn to be more in the moment, I suffer from pretty bad anxiety and a lot of is down to over thinking the future “worst case scenario”. And this post has made me think about that from a different perspective.
I just turned 53. Not old but old enough to realize I'm not 16 (or 25 or 30 or anything younger!) anymore. The people who think it's ridiculous that I do what I do at my age (hockey, running, living in Adidas track shoes) are getting emails with the link to this.
The status of what is to be old changes with the ages. My wife knows women in their 80's who travel up to the south east to look after their mothers living with dementia . On the other hand I (60) visited the recently finished Mumbles skatepark last Sunday and did as much damage to the pool coping as anyone. Neither was a 'thing' 25 years ago. Thanks for a penetrating article Matt. I hoped you would start to explore this area.
Thanks for sharing Matt. I have to say, as I slide into my late 60's my inspiration comes from many different sources, for example, the old geezer (81) who shows up again at the skydiving centre during the spring, telling me about his ski season and how stoked he is to be getting back in the air again.
This post reminded me of my own tension between ageing gracefully (with its plethora of limitations) and the idea that we can put it off somewhat with a combination of diet, exercise, pills, mentality, or a large helping of good genetics. Intellectually I conclude that one might accept that which is happening to the body whilst also doing those other interventions to promote ‘health span’, (rather than life span. See Dr Peter Attia's work for more on this distinction).
I agree with Steven Kotler that if one is able to enter a headspace in which anything is possible, nothing being off limits physically, etc that this will get you pretty far along the way to continuing to physically perform at a high level. At the same time of course, understanding that keeping up with 20 year old athletes simply isn't achievable in the second half of your 40's.
I too loved Being Mortal by Atul Gawande. Another favourite is The Worm at the Core by Sheldon Solomon.
Excellent Matt, really enjoyed this piece. Very thought provoking.
This is bloody brilliant, Matt. It’s a lovely juxtaposition to your shred, risk, create brand of content, yet also totally in line.
I’m as guilty as everyone else for not listening to older people, partly because I don’t know how to do it. I definitely struggle with how to respond to dated and offensive world views, short of just keeping my mouth shut. And I think every day about how to communicate exponential leaps in technology to the likes of my folks, and make them understand how systems beyond their ken and control are changing a world they’re still part of. All of this creates a distance that I’ve never figured out how to deal with.
Basically, I think we’re a bit shit at being old and thinking about old age, and this helps. It’s also reminded me that I should really organise a walking holiday with mum.
Should I worry that I didn't even groan at the title? More importantly, it's a lovely bit of writing Matt.