Poppa’s Moment by Phil Larson

You are not old until you are older than me, and I will never be older than myself.

Just off the phone with a friend. He commented that he gets older and less able to get around. At my age of 64, he is about ten years younger. He is old. What a shame. Old is an attitude! A lost ability, broken joint, or hard sickness can hamper you, but only an attitude can make you old.

Another friend, a high school buddy, looked at me and commented, “We are getting old.” He is finishing a run across the United States that has taken many years, and he’s feeling old. Seems like he is reaching the end of a long-time goal and that is making him feel old. Certainly, by health and vitality, he is not old. Old is when we give up on new goals.

Grandpa, stay young. Your grandchildren need you. They need you to walk through the woods and show them how to enjoy nature. They need you to watch a soccer game on a blustery cold day and shout the team to a score. They need you to sit with them in church and praise God with your cracking voice with full assurance of faith. They need you to stay young.

Here are 4 suggestions that you might have heard, but they are important:

Keep Active: Bones need resistance to stay strong. Do some body weight exercise, yoga, free weights or use a weight machine to keep those bones building and recovering. Muscles need stretched to gain and retain strength. You are not too old to work out with a good, guided regimen. Joints work best in motion. A lot of sitting will net you creaky joints. You sound like a popcorn machine when you get out of that easy chair. Move around all day.

Eat Right: When I was 25, my body could absorb a truck stop burrito and burn it off. No longer. Match your eating to your metabolism. The Good Lord designed you for a more gentle lifestyle at this stage. Embrace it. Eat clean protein, clean carbs, and lots of veggies and fruit. Your brain will thank you for this one also. Expect to think more clearly with right diet.

Hang Around Friends: Make some new friends. Exercise your smile. Sure, your old buddy passed and you are lonely. Be happy for the moments and find new friends. Volunteer to mentor kids at a local elementary once a week. Get out and embarrass yourself helping others with what you can do instead of hiding what you can’t do. Find a community group engaged in a hobby you like.

Build a Positive Mental Attitude: There is plenty to worry over and lament. Skip those worries for breakfast and focus on great gratefulness. Happiness is a choice you develop. One great exercise is to identify at the end of every day 3 items that went well and why.

Today, I enjoyed a grandchild’s drawing posted on facebook. I went to my daughter’s page instead of letting the facebook algorithm control my feed. Today, I worked out at 120-140 bpm for 30 minutes at the gym. It takes intentional regular workouts. My cardiovascular system likes that, and my brain thrives on the oxygen. Today, a friend told me they loved me. A quick phone check opened the door to receive appreciation. I like to be loved.

These are 4 simple ways to stay young and keep the attitude upbeat.

You are not old until you are older than me, and I will never be older than myself.

Now, go spend some time with a grandchild. Show him or her how to grow older gracefully but never grow old. I’m older, but I’m not old.


Phil Larson serves as the SW Director of Benefits and Conferences for Grandkids Matter and GrandparentBenefits.org. He and his wife, Dian, live in Oklahoma City and have four children of their own as well as many that call them mom and dad from the community. Three of those children are married, giving them a mix of six grandchildren of multi-racial background by both birth and adoption. You can contact him at 405.494.0637 or phil@grandparentbenefits.org.