How Old Do YOU Feel?
Today (November 12th) is my Dad’s Birthday. He’s 89 years old. I planned a surprise trip to Montreal to celebrate with him. In order to throw him off, I called him early this morning, before my flight, to wish him a happy birthday. Here’s how the conversation went…
Me: Hi Dad! Happy Birthday!
Dad: Thank you! Thank you!
Me: How old are you today?
Dad: I don’t know
Me: You’re 89 years old Dad!
Dad: That’s what they claim.
Me: You don’t feel 89? Do you feel 79?
Dad: No – 73.
My dad had a stroke about a year and a half ago. His memory was affected in strange ways. He’s forgotten his age and he just can’t wrap his head around the fact that he’s 89 – he’s convinced that he’s younger…16 years younger!
Is that so terrible? Maybe not.
When my dad had his stroke at the age of 87, the doctors pulled us aside to ask if they should resuscitate him if he went into cardiac arrest. His survival is nothing short of a miracle. He was severely affected by the stroke and completely lost his mobility, his speech, and his independence. It was a steep climb back, and he’s still a long way from full recovery. Any other person in his state may have lost the desire to forge ahead. Any other person his age could have decided that there was no hope and could have easily given up.
He did not.
In my dad’s case, believing that he’s only 73 had a powerful impact on his desire to live out the rest of his years with as much quality of life as possible. It certainly left him with a much wider glance at the years ahead of him. It has him pushing harder to recover from his stroke, willing to go to physiotherapy, speech therapy, and ergo-therapy four times a week. At 89, he certainly doesn’t live as though his years are limited. He takes my mother out for dinner every Saturday night. He goes to Synagogue every Saturday morning and he even makes periodic appearances at the office just to tune into what’s happening. He jokes around, he drinks wine and even has a scotch once in a while. He talks on the phone. He engages in conversation. He lives as though he’s 73.
Today, on his birthday, he made a claim. He wants to go to Vegas before he dies. He’s been all over the world, but never to Vegas. How cool would it be to take him? I asked him what he would play if he went to Vegas – the slots or poker?
He said, “Both.”
Of course – for him, there is no other answer.
What would it be like to live as though you were just a little younger? 1 year perhaps? 5 years? 10 years? 16? What impact would that make on your life?