This weekend I had an early birthday lunch with two dear friends. The waitress surprised me with a special treat to conclude our meal. We sat outside, we talked, we laughed, we dreamed, and we spent time together just enjoying the day and each other. After all these years with so many birthdays behind me, my age is just a number. Inside I still feel like I am in my late twenties, that I am invincible, and that time is on my side. In my brain that is all true, in my body that may not always be true. 

Age is a state of mind, not a number. We hear that all the time. What does that really mean? You are as old as you think you are, no matter what time tells you. If you think you are old, you probably behave like you are old. If you think you are over the hill, washed up, boring, a fuddy duddy, middle aged…no matter how you word it, you are what you think you are. Some days it is easier to feel and think younger than others. Some days our bodies remind us that we are not young and invincible anymore. Sometimes our medical tests, records, and inventory remind us that time and gravity are working against us. Eventually our bodies do fail us. It is our minds that allow us to go beyond what the data shows. 

So when does wisdom about our age move from our mind to our bodies and back again? What factors stop us in our tracks, and which ones propel us to keep dreaming forward? I think the people you surround yourself with have a HUGE impact on how you feel. If you always hear negative, limits, reminders of your past failures or frequent comments to put you in the right age group, then why are you surprised that you feel old? If you are supported by people who live life to the fullest, who bring energy, vitality, positivity and joy to the conversation, then why are you surprised that you feel like anything is possible? We are who we hang around with, add that to how you think and the combination can be inspiring or deadly. 

Somewhere in your body you know your age, and then you think your age. The two may not always be the same age. Celebrate the expertise and experiences the years have provided. Get excited about the years to come. As you celebrate your birthday don’t worry about the number of candles, instead surround yourself with people who share your excitement about the future. And run away from people who have nothing to bring but turmoil and sadness, drama and drain…run fast, run far, run long. You deserve to be as excited and happy as you choose to be, so choose wisely. It is up to you to control how you think, so run towards those who bring joy and run away from those who don’t.