How To Fight Aging By Being a Multipotentialite
Photo courtesy of Cea.

How To Fight Aging By Being a Multipotentialite

Written by Janet Brent

Topics: Confidence, Multipotentialite Patterns

This year, I just turned 30 and look forward to aging gracefully. I wrote about this before. The slight apprehension of acquiring sunspots, larger pores, my first white hair and heaven forbid a wrinkle or two.

The real solution isn’t about buying a $50 eye cream. I’ve been interested in the topic of health and longevity for awhile now and seem to have noticed a pattern. People who have a strong vitality in midlife and beyond never stop learning. They try new things. They see being an “adult” as a role they play but don’t get mired in identification and know how to have fun. They don’t take things too seriously. They have a sense of humor. They laugh.

Being a multipotentialite, indeed, can be good for you. It may even be great for anti-aging.

A friend of mine is in her mid 30s and learned how to surf for the first time and started up dirt biking (I myself learned how to surf to start off the new year). As a pilates instructor, she loves being active and knows the importance of movement.

“Good for you for trying new things at your age.”

“I guess it’s never too late to learn new tricks.”

These are the sorts of things she hears a LOT.

When did the 30s start to implicate being old? Is there a silent rule that you shouldn’t learn new things after a certain age?

Get Rid of The Phrase “At Your Age”

There’s no reason to tag “at your age” at the end of a sentence. Because of the silent implications of being old, it might even seem a bit rude. It’s not that “you look good at your age”, it should be looking good at any age. Think of yourself as ageless, and live only in the present moment.

Refuse to believe that you are old, because you are only as old (or young) as you feel. Age is only a state of mind. Even physicists might argue that time is only an illusion.

Learn a New Language

I’ve been living abroad and as a Filipino-American, I’ve barely grasped my native tongue. I’m slowly learning Tagalog, one of the many dialects of the Philippines. Learning a new language can increase creativity, especially when paired with living abroad.

Learn a New Instrument

Learning to play music is practically like learning a new language. How to read notes, and how to play the particular instrument go side by side. Learning how to play by ear or how to improv are entirely new sets of skills all layered around music. Each new layer complements the rest and delves deeper into it. I met a 100 year old violinist once who could still play fast notes and remembered how to play songs through body memory. Playing an instrument increases dexterity so you can stay young at any age.

Get Rid of Complacency

One of my favorite inspirational quotes is:

Life starts at the end of your comfort zone.

When life starts to feel a little comfortable, shake it up. Try new things. Go somewhere you haven’t been to before. Go to the beach. Pick up a new, or old hobby. Make a one month challenge or goal and do it. Learn a new topic. Join a group. Embrace change.

Multipotentialites have a natural inclination towards change and learning new things. It helps keep our brains active, agile, and young.

Meet Phyllis Sues

Phyllis recently wrote a Huffington Post article that went viral about her amazing outlook at Loving Life at Age 90. She’s a tango dancer, a tennis player, a pianist who sings and composes her own music, a trapeze artist, and now, a yogi.

When she was 14, she took her first ballet class and soon danced her way into Broadway.

When she was 72, she took her first piano lesson and now composes her own music albums.

When she was 85, she took her first yoga class and was soon able to progress towards advanced poses that practitioners in their 20s struggle to do.

Movement is a Big Part of Staying Young

The next time someone tells you that it’s good you’re trying new things at your age in your 30s, 40s, 50s, and beyond, think of Phyllis, who shows you that anything is possible with perseverance and that it’s REALLY never too late to learn new tricks!

Your Turn

What do you do to stay young? Do you think being a multipotentialite puts you at an advantage to aging gracefully?

janet_aboutJanet Brent is an intuitive graphic/web designer for creative, holistic and heart-based entrepreneurs. She’s interested in passionate people making positive change. Find her blogging on Purple Panda and on twitter @janetbrent.

19 Comments

  1. Allison says:

    Hey Janet,
    This is a great post. I think it’s a really important lesson that we can always be trying new things, and that it’s never too late to learn something new.

    It seems so stupid, but for some reason, I had it stuck in my head that everything was determined by the time I graduated college, and that it was too late for me to learn an instrument, or run a marathon, or paint. I’m not sure where this came from – maybe because I went to a competitive high school and a college where I knew people who had played at Carnegie Hall / started a million dollar business / written a best seller / cured cancer by the ripe old age of 18. I spent a lot of time thinking it was too late for me – and I’m only 26!

    I’m slowly overcoming this limitation and hoping I’ll end up like Phyllis.

    • Janet Brent says:

      whoa, I certainly don’t know any of those types of 18 year olds! I can see how that would be intimidating but everyone starts from somewhere and we’re all on our own journey. We can’t compare, or shouldn’t, because they’re on their own thing and we each have our own story. I think it’s inspiring when people try new things at any age and continue to do so. I don’t like being ‘set in my ways’ or complacent and stable. Maybe I’m just too much like Wendy/Peter Pan. But is that such a bad thing? :)

  2. Margaux says:

    Hi Janet,

    I think for multipotentialites, not being complacent and always trying new things is a given. We can’t help doing these things and it hurts when we try to stop.

    Another multipod friend and I were talking recently about how easy it is for us to approach any new thing, person, situation as though it were an adventure or opportunity to learn something. Even for things we don’t think we’re interested in, we’ll at least give it a shot, sometimes two. My friend used the example of going to watch any sport. She doesn’t get sports (I do), but she’s game for any game—at least the first time. Part of it is we want to see what’s so fascinating for other people. We may not take it up ourselves later, but at least we’re closer to understanding what other people get out of it. And people who are fascinated by something, no matter what it is, are themselves pretty fascinating—for multipotentialites. Specialists of any sort are fascinating to us!

    But in my personal observations, people who aren’t “like us” get very firm ideas about what they like and don’t like, what they will and won’t put up with, and that’s pretty final. Even if we can coax them to go there, they’ll usually spend the entire time grimacing, being sarcastic or superior, checking their watch or phone every 10 seconds, and finding an excuse to leave as early as possible.

    If you aren’t curious by nature, “embracing change” is a strange concept.

    Thanks for the article, Janet! Very well written and argued!

    Cheers.

    • Janet Brent says:

      Margaux-

      Oh, it definitely hurts. I’ve lived a complacent life and thought there was something wrong with me, or certainly my (ex)partner tried to convince me there was!

      It’s definitely true that it seems we’re more “game” to try new things even if we know we don’t necessarily like the particular topic. It’s interesting how you observe that we can actually sort of analyze it from an outsider perspective and *that* in itself is what interests us… I think you’re on to something. Like looking at it from a sociological standpoint.. that would definitely interest me!

      One example is wrestling. I hate it but it might be cool to see a live event just to be around that energy of people yelling and screaming and being excited about a match. I could definitely see some positive takeaways there.

  3. Josh says:

    Great post. I’m in my 30s and taking web design classes, exercising, starting a business, and learning many shiny new skills. I feel just as young as ever!

    A naysayer once said, “You’re too old to go back to school.” Well, I guess that mindset is just too bad for him.

    I try to make this clear to guitar students as well. Thanks for the post.
    Josh

    • Janet Brent says:

      Yes, it IS a pity for them… who think you’re “too old” to do a certain thing. They’re surely missing out on a lot of life. Definitely not the kind of mindset I want or life I’d want to live!

  4. Katja says:

    Hi Janet,

    I couldn’t agree with you more! Learning new things keeps you young, I’m convinced of that. 18 Months ago I started to play the Irish harp (at age 31) and I have taken to it like a fish takes to water.
    I have never felt so alive and beautiful – inside and out!

    I’m not sure I would have progressed this fast (playing/singing live gigs with another harpist in front of 300+ people, composing songs, …) if I was younger. Would I have had the maturity to bring up the determination and dedication necessary? The patience to practice for two hours each day over a period of 18 months (and counting)? Considering my multipotential nature, I think not ;-)

    Now that I’m 33 I know that time is precious, a fact I was not so aware of ten years ago. This knowledge gives me greater focus and helps me to get my priorities straight.
    So yes, it is never too late to start a new “thing”!

    Thank you for this great post, Janet!

    Katja

    • Janet Brent says:

      That would be lovely to learn! I’d love to be in a celtic/Irish band playing fiddle. I’ve played violin since I was 9 but haven’t picked it up much in my adult years. It’s definitely something I should do more often so I don’t “lose” it and yes, to stay young! I’d also like to learn other instruments like cello.

  5. cotey bucket says:

    Hey Janet.

    I couldn’t agree more (with all of you). Especially in the realm of “you’er only as old as you feel”. I find that whenever my life starts to become to humdrum or stagnant I start to feel really old. But as soon as I throw some new stuff in there, mix it up a little, I get back to just right. I get energized and I’m pretty sure I even get less gray hairs.

    cotey.

    • Janet says:

      Awesome Cotey! I’m sure there’s a correlation to feeling old and stagnant in life.. now that I think of it it’s kind of like leaving food out for too long and it gets moldy because it’s old. :P You need movement and action so that it’s new and changing (energy of food shifts in your body, becomes something new). Maybe that’s a weird analogy. :)

  6. Larrah says:

    I turn 37 next month. I still consider myself a young adult, considering I’ll likely live to 95ish. On top of that, I am more healthy, physically strong, and open-hearted then when I was in my 20s due to having learned what diet, fitness regime, and philosophies suit me best, so I *feel* younger now.

    The latest business venture in which I am getting involved is called Prime Life Fitness which is rehab and fitness-related personal training for adults in their 40′s on up. Our belief is that functional fitness is pretty much the fountain of youth especially when the programming challenges the brain as well (keeps it interesting and fun!). I come from a long line of ladies who worked out, went boating/fishing, farmed, worked, etc. well into their 90s so this is one of my most dearly-held paradigms!

    • shreen says:

      “I turn 37 next month. I still consider myself a young adult, considering I’ll likely live to 95ish. On top of that, I am more healthy, physically strong, and open-hearted then when I was in my 20s due to having learned what diet, fitness regime, and philosophies suit me best, so I *feel* younger now.”

      Me too!

      Taking about dirt biking (in the original blog post)…I’m 30 and love dirt jumping, but always seem to be one of the oldest people on the track. 90% of the people there are under 10 years old! :-O

      • Janet Brent says:

        ahhh there’s another thing about that.. When you’re an adult you’re not supposed to do “kid” things? I was usually the oldest at things too like dance classes (I took Hindi/bollywood dance class once)… over 90% were kids and usually Indian kids who were adopted by caucasian parents.

        • shreen says:

          Hiya Janet. Same here. I can think of so many instances where I was the oldest person present. Music gigs, extreme sports, drawing competitions, and various other things.

          There is a lot of stigma associated with behaving in ways associated with children, mostly I find this comes from parents (who perhaps subconsciously have drawn a solid line between adults and children).

          But also many people are scared of making themselves look silly. So for example when I’m dirt jumping I’m usually no better than a 10 year old, which if you think about it a certain way is a bit embarrassing. The way I look at it though is: I’ve never done this before so I’m allowed to make mistakes and just be an amateur.

          I think play is so important to good mental health. It’s a topic I want to focus on in my art work but am unsure how to. I’ve even got an entire pinboard dedicated to it: http://pinterest.com/shreenayob/play/

          Here’s hoping we’re still biking and belly dancing at 90! :)

    • Janet Brent says:

      It must be awesome to know you’ll probably live into your 90s based on healthy lifestyle and family history! That’s great! I don’t have that reassurance but I’d love to become a centaurian (100).. so the best I’ve got is keeping a fit, full lifestyle (it’s also about community).

      When I was in my 20s, I had 30 year old friends say that it was a blessing to be in their 30s… rather than think of the negatives of “slowed metabolism” and weight gain, they took the empowering route and thought it was their bodies way of telling them exactly what they needed, and being able to better explore that. I think that’s similar to what you’re saying about learning what fitness regimes and philosophies suit you best. You get to (re)discover what your body needs and learn to treat it right, if you take the conscious route. The end result might be being healthier than your 20s and feeling more youthful… because we’re able to afford a lot more bad stuff in our 20s and teens that our bodies just can’t handle as we get older.

      Good luck on your business venture. This sounds excellent!

  7. tulpoeid says:

    Haha, thanks, I think that in my mind I deal with aging more than it really deals with me :) So, it’s never too early to stop worrying for no reason!
    Btw the quote about life is awesome, thanks again.

    • Janet Brent says:

      thanks for your comment. it’s good to have preventive measures for aging. I think play is one of them, as well as proper health and skincare, etc. :) But it’s more lifestyle than $50+ creams

  8. Sharron McKenzie says:

    I showed that article about the 90 year old to my nearly 70 year old mother and she said it just made her feel tired and that clearly that woman was not encumbered by a husband!

  9. RieT says:

    Around 30, I started saying things like “I am getting old”, but looking back, 30 something was the most vibrant and beautiful years of my life. Someday, you will look back, and say “Wow, I wish I looked like that again” :)

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