Life begins at 120!

This week I received a wonderful brochure from the municipality where I live for people over 60. It contained excellent invitations on how seniors can "bridge their boredom". Yesterday I wanted to buy a ticket at the station and the machine asked me if I was between 1 and 59 years old or already 60+ years old, because if you are already 60+ you can get a senior ticket. In these and many other places, I have the feeling that the message is that life is already over at 60. Even at the last class reunion I ever attended (30 years after leaving school), the conversations were essentially all about how long you still had to work and when you would "finally retire" and be "free".

My goodness, I said to myself, how have these people lived their lives! Who wants to live like this, waiting for their 60th birthday to "finally be free"?

In Germany, we are currently having the weird discussion about raising the retirement age to 67 or 72. If we look at nature, we would never think of saying this to a tree:

"I don't care how fit you are! We have determined by law that you have reached retirement age and please stop flowering or producing fruit now, because you are no longer allowed to!"

You can certainly explain historically why it used to be important to protect people from a certain (retirement) age. When discussing pensions, we only ever think about chronological age. But we have three ages:

  • The chronological age is what is stated in the passport.
  • There is a biological age, which indicates how old my body is and how well I have looked after my "vehicle", and there is a
  • mental age, which indicates how fit and lively my mind is.

The retirement age refers only to chronological age and is therefore more of a dice than a truly biologically meaningful explanation: many researchers agree that humans are designed to live to 120 to 150 years of age.

Last year, Time magazine published an issue with a cover featuring a portrait of a baby and the title "This child could live to be 142" to illustrate how far medicine has come in making people live to the age they really can. There are vintage cars that still take part in rallies. And there are classic car drivers who drive these classic cars. I already posted that I watched a hill climb where the oldest racer was 95 years old. Cars can go almost forever if they are well looked after. Yes, the 1920 model may not have GPS or an on-board computer but it still works.

Udo Jürgens sang "at the age of 66, that's when life begins". Johannes Heesters was still on stage at the age of 106. How old would he have been if he had been told at 65 that he was no longer allowed to perform? Warren Buffet was already well over 80 years old and said: "If I wasn't allowed to do what I love doing, then I probably wouldn't live much longer or be alive". When he was 77, he learned Korean accounting law.

I have just turned 64 years old, am starting new business ideas, a new business and am having great fun creating something new. How terrible it would be if the legislator could prohibit me from doing this!

How open are we to learning new things? As open as we want to be, if we value our biological and mental age more than our chronological age. There is no such thing as being "old" in this sense, there is only active participation in life or not. The possibility of ruining your body or taking care of it and getting fitter.

When do our lives really, really begin? When do we decide?

I ignore the chronological age, I don't care, it doesn't help me anyway to be invited to an anti-boredom senior event with the chronologically 60-year-olds, because my biological and mental age doesn't fit in at all. On the contrary, I am currently in the process of creating something new in my life in a fresh and dynamic way and thinking in terms of "no limits" in a way that I couldn't when I was younger. In this respect, it gives me pleasure to really be more mature.

On a 60th birthday, someone was asked: "Would you like to be 20 years old again?" - "Yes!" he said. "But only with today's phone book!"

I wish you a wonderful, unlimited life and especially mental and biological youth!

Yours sincerely,
Wolfgang Sonnenburg
winning for life

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