Are You Growing Old…or Just Getting Old?

Jul 18, 2012 | Writing

I want to take a survey.

Of everyone out there reading this blog post, how many of you would describe yourself as living “fully alive”?

I’m wondering about this because I just finished my friend Ken Davis’ fantastic new book titled Fully Alive. The title comes from a quote Ken paraphrases from Saint Irenaeus, “The glory of God is man fully alive.”

You might be wondering what living “fully alive” actually means. Here’s Ken’s answer:

“The idea of living fully alive is not some thrill-seeking quest. It doesn’t require leaping from an airplane or riding bicycles at breakneck speeds or jumping a log cabin on skis. I’ve done all that. What I longed for was to experience that sense of adventure in my everyday life. Shouldn’t we feel some of the excitement that comes from jumping off a fifty-foot cliff into the water when we jump out of bed to live as God intended?”

I love this idea of living “fully alive” because this is part of what I am trying to teach in my writing and speaking—to get people to connect excitement, adventure, and passion with their everyday lives.

How many people can honestly say they feel that excited when they wake up every day? It’s an extremely rare quality to find! But here’s the better question to ask: Why shouldn’t we feel that excited when we wake up every morning?

For most, I think the answer to that question is that they have stopped growing. If you’re not growing, it’s pretty hard to get excited about life. Ken makes an important distinction in his book—there is a huge difference between growing old…and just getting old.

When we grow old we still learn, listen, teach, act, laugh, and, above all else, when we grow old, we simply continue to DO. Conversely, when we get old we sit back, coast, and, generally, don’t accomplish very much.

I’m passionate about this concept because, at my age, I see so many of my peers primed for the “finish line.” To them, the “finish line” is retirement, the kids moving out, cashing in on a pension, living a life of leisure, etc. This is the mindset we as a society have created.

Guys…when did we forget that the true “finish line” doesn’t come until we’ve breathed our last breath?

Until that very moment comes we have more lives to touch, more memories to create, more work to do, more dreams to fulfill…no matter how old we become. In The Noticer, Jones reminds the elderly Willow Calloway of all the great accomplishments made by those most would have assumed to be “past their prime”: Colonel Sanders taking his family chicken recipe and starting a new restaurant franchise at the age of 65, Benjamin Franklin inventing bifocals at 78, Grandma Moses selling her first painting at 90, Michelangelo beginning his work on St. Peter’s Basilica at 72…the list goes on.

Fully Alive Tag

Amazing, right? But the point is not that you need to begin some monumental task like creating a masterpiece of art. The point is that you can begin to grow again by starting with the little things. Remember, the Butterfly Effect proves that sometimes the smallest actions result in the biggest changes somewhere down the line.

So if you’re feeling like your life has lost that spark, that desire, that excitement that makes you want to leap out of bed every morning…I suggest you start trying to find it again. And I can’t think of a better way for you to begin your search by picking up Ken’s book. Go here for more information and to download the first chapter for free!

Oh, and one more thing—prepare to laugh a lot along the way…Ken started out as a comedian, too! Ha!

What keeps you passionate about life? How are you staying fully alive?


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