The great American comic George Burns once opined, “You can’t help getting older, but you can help getting old.” I, too, believe that looking at getting older with humor is a miraculous opportunity to laugh and stay young at heart.

I wrote my first book, “A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To Enlightenment” at the age of sixty-four. How then, can anyone say it’s too late to do something? Whenever I think it’s too late to undertake a new project, I ask myself, “How old will I be if I don’t do it?”

I spent twenty-three years working as a supervisor for the Board of Education. I went out on early retirement at the age of sixty. Ever since my retirement, I’ve had nightmares. I keep dreaming that I return to work.

Marick Chazan, a friend of mine and fellow Gestalt therapist, told me that he sees me actually getting younger every day because of my new life style of traveling, teaching, learning, performing, and doing workshops. He said that he noticed that I’m in love with life in the here and now, love to be around people, loving them and sharing my “child within” with them. He says that when I share my “child” with others, it brings them to a safe place where they can share their “child” with me, which allows an encounter of two children meeting in adult bodies. This is constant happiness to Marick. “Even sadness becomes happiness when two children in adult bodies share and play with the pain” he says.

Getting older is relative, though. I went to my doctor for a check-up one day and, in the waiting room, I noticed a woman in her mid seventies looking very pale. She was crying. I asked her what was wrong. “I’m desperate! My doctor is on vacation,” she sniffed. “You don’t need a doctor. You need a big hug,” I empathized. The color suddenly returned to her face. “A hug? From a young man like you?” she blushed. I simply wrapped my arms around her and hugged her for a few moments. She kissed me on the cheek and walked out the door with a broad smile on her face. I smiled even more. After all, she called me “young man.”

At this age, something terrible happens to music. How I once loved the Beatles, Deep Purple, and Pink Floyd. Now all of a sudden it seems like noise. Even worse, I get on an elevator and hear them as background music. My compact disc changer is loaded with music from the Fifties. When I was fifty, I lived in the Sixties. Now that I’m over sixty, I live in the Fifties.

Getting older is all about high blood pressure, high cholesterol, high anxiety, and low sex drive. At my age, “safe sex” is not falling out of bed. Having sex at my age is still wonderful, really. It just gets more difficult to see with whom you are having it.

It seems that after the age of fifty, I began to age at the rate of about three years per year. I began falling asleep fifteen minutes into an episode of Seinfeld. I also began falling asleep during sex rather than after.

When I reached sixty-five, I feared I had lost my sex appeal. Upon entering a crowded bus into town, I noticed a lovely woman staring at me and smiling. “I’ve still got it!” I thought to myself. “She can hardly take her eyes off me.” She sprung up from her chair, walked towards me, and with a broad, warm smile whispered, “Sir, would you like to sit down? You may have my seat.”

Yes, I’ve witnessed people crying over the fact that youth has passed them by, and that things aren’t the same as they used to be. I agree that the toughest part about getting older is remembering youth. I have news for you. Things are never supposed to be as they were before. The only thing constant is change.

High up at the topmost part of the palm tree, the leaves are sprouting green. The palm tree is not interested in the brown, dead parts that have fallen away. The green leaves keep renewing themselves, and the tree lets the dead parts be the memories of what once was.

Isn’t that us, too? We are sort of like the palm tree, aren’t we? We continue going forward, remembering whom we were then, and loving whom we are now. Can you imagine a butterfly mourning over the fact that she is no longer a cocoon? There are changes going on all the time. Why shouldn’t happiness be something we experience all the time rather than trying to recall all the time?

I plan to keep working, studying, and growing. What about you? Will you dance your age…or drag it? Getting older is an honor. It’s just that I’d like to honor someone else with it.

Author's Bio: 

Lenny Ravich lives in Tel Aviv and facilitates workshops, courses, seminars and presentations on the subject of "Laughter and Humor for Peak Performance" in Israel and throughout the globe. He is the author of the best selling book, "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way To Enlightenment."Lenny can be reached at Email: