When people describe you as being “up in years,” they generally mean that you have logged a pretty high number on your age scorecard – probably in the high two-digit range.
But the word “up” isn’t always used just to describe quantity – it can also refer to quality. And it’s crucial for us to make sure that as our number of years goes up, the quality of our life goes up too. We need both kinds of “up” before we really can say that we’re up in years.
Some of the quality improvements that come with greater age are pretty much automatic. Over the years we tend to accumulate more experiences, meet more people, and even build up more pension credits. We should be thankful for many of these qualities that go up just because our age has gone up.
Some of the improvements that come into our lives automatically over the years even arrive through painful or unpleasant things – the immunity we’ve built up against mumps and measles, the knowledge that we should not eat certain foods because they cause us allergies, awareness of people and actions we should avoid because they lead to trouble.
But most of the best improvements in life happen, not automatically, but through a strong effort on our part to MAKE them happen. As we grow “up in years” we also need to work to move upward in ways besides age – making new friends, growing closer with our families, learning subjects like science and math, exploring the world through travel, opening our minds and hearts to new things.
The number of benefits we receive automatically is somewhat limited by the number of years we have in our lives. Unfortunately, that’s out of our control. But the number of qualitative improvements we can choose to add is much more wide open.
Sure, if I had my choice, I’d vote for having my number of years be the part that’s completely unlimited, but it’s also pretty darn nice to have no limits on the things we can choose to add to improve the quality of our lives. So let’s concentrate on that.
I’ll bet there’s a library or senior center near you that offers free or cheap classes in a wide variety of interesting topics. There are plenty of cruises, bus tours, train rides, or maybe just trolley rides to take. They’re all fun. There are probably even some interesting sites you can walk to in your own neighborhood. And somewhere on any of those excursions, there’s bound to be an interesting person who is looking for someone as fascinating as you to have a conversation with.
The important thing to remember is that the “up” in “up in years” doesn’t just refer to age.
As your life moves upward in its years,
your chronological age alone
is less important, it appears
than how much your mind and heart have grown.