How Old Are You on the Inside?

I was sitting on the wall, chatting with Eddie, a colleague, at the Gaylord mega hotel in  Nashville. I’m at the Agile 2013 conference. I recognized the female gardener as she walked by and greeted her. She asked if the Eddie, the gentleman sitting next to me was my son.

I was nonplussed, surprised, and unable to respond for the moment. Eddie on the other hand said, “No, we’re friends.”

We chatted for a few minutes and that was that. Eddie and I continued our discussion about agile program management.

I do realize I look older than my 30- and 40-something colleagues. I am barely old enough to be their mother. Since I don’t dye my hair, I look my age. Since I use a walker or a cane, I look like a little old lady.

This happened with Udi Dahan at Oredev a couple of years ago. It happened yesterday. I don’t think it’s going to stop, is it?

Okay. Here’s the deal. If you want to be thought of as young, sit with me at a conference. Someone will think you are my child. At least, if you are a man.

I still think this is nuts. But it seems to be the reality. I thought I was just middle aged-looking. (Or, maybe Mark is wrong. 50 is not the new 30.) But, maybe not.

Remember, on the inside, we all look out from young eyes. No matter how old we are on the outside, we feel young on the inside. My internal age ranges from about 6 because I like knock-knock jokes to about 25. But I definitely do not feel as if I am past 50. Nope, no way, no how.

Don’t get me started on how tall I feel, either. I am always surprised by how short I am. Inside, I’m at least 6 feet tall. Maybe even taller. I never understand why I can’t reach the dishes in the cupboards.

I feel like a vibrant young woman. Clearly, I don’t look like one. Vibrant? Yes. Young? I guess not.

What am I going to do?

  1. Work on my belly fat. Yes, I have decided that the real issue is that my belly fat is the root of all evil. It’s not my gray hair. (Oh, stop laughing. I can hear you from here.) Have you looked at older people? The older people have belly fat. That’s it. It’s got to come off. I have a plan. I just have to be home for the plan to work.
  2. I don’t have a number two, which is a problem. I’m not willing to dye my hair. That is way too much maintenance. It’s not my walker or my cane. Besides, I can’t do anything about the walker or the cane.
  3. Ignore it. Yeah, that works, too.

I still have work to do on agile program management. I have five or six other books in the pipeline. I have way too much work to do to give up. I’m not done yet.

Okay, when I say, “I’m not done yet,” this is actually #4, applying the growth mindset (but not to my belly!!). This is saying, “I have learning to accomplish, I have growth. I can learn things.”

My question for you today is: How old do you feel on the inside? Today could be feisty, so I might only be about 18 or 19 :-) Let’s have a feisty day today.

4 thoughts on “How Old Are You on the Inside?”

  1. When I was in my early-to-mid 20s, most of my friends were in their 40x – 70s. Today, (in my mid-60s) many of my colleagues are in their early-to-mid 20s, but there are still many more on the continuum. I never thought anything about it. Apparently, it bothers some because many older people (like me) tend to become brittle, in their beliefs, music, humor, literature (graphic novels?). Some don’t. I have no idea what makes the difference.

  2. I feel much younger than I am and I have much to learn and experience. Lets have a fiesty day today and I’ll go with 20 as my age. As I recall 20 was quite a fiesty year. ;)

  3. I feel many ages at once. In high school, I was told I was “born 40 years old.” She had a point.

    Spiritually, I oscillate between a naughty-but-happy toddler sheep and a self-absorbed teenage sheep. “Wait up, flock. I have to go get Robert again.”

    Professionally, I feel 54. The nature of that feeling all depends on the story I tell. Steadiness, clarity, urgency, and a twinge of fear.

    There will always be those who will say I am “too whatever.” Increasingly it’s, “Too old.” Oh, well. I don’t need everybody. I just need a few to say, “You’re just what we’re looking for,” or even, “Show us what you got.”

  4. Like Robert, I am many ages at once. 5, a good age to play with my granddaughter and one of my colleagues. 11. 19. 30. 44, that was a very good year too. 56, a year I was offended that a friend thought we were middle aged. Now I say the age I am is too old to work all the time and way too young to stop working.

    There are so many things still to learn with both my older and younger colleagues, so many interesting things to investigate and read. Let’s always be feisty and curious, and not care about irrelevant things like when we were born or where we live:-)

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