Less Overachieving

I am getting older every day—no news flash there. But in my younger years, I was a very average achiever in school and other endeavours.

So how have I become much more of an overachiever, you ask? Thanks for asking; I have an answer.

As I age, people expect less of me. I’m told I don’t look, act, or think my age, so I don’t overachieve until folks know my age. Wow—is a frequent reaction.

I was in an ice cream shop recently, buying my favourite item on the menu. This is not a nutritionally sound treat, but I had reached a goal of losing 5 pounds, part of a larger goal—or should I say a lesser goal.

I still had my wristband on from the local recreation centre, and when the server learned I had just come from working out, he struggled with the relationship between fitness and my ice cream dish.

I explained that I was celebrating reaching a goal of weight loss and that, at 76 years of age, small accomplishments deserve celebration.

His jaw literally dropped open and stayed like that for several long seconds. Wow was all he could say for a few moments.

I went from a pretend physical fitness follower to almost a hero. Someone worth emulating when he grew old like me. There I go, overachieving again.

As I approached 65, I considered not revealing my age too often. I’m not sure why.

Then, as I flew past 70, I reversed my position to look for strategic moments to tell people my age. This time, I knew why. I wanted younger folks to know we older folks are invisibly walking amongst them. Being over 70 comes with baggage of the worst kind: Ageism.

At some point, and I’m not sure when, I turned from being active to being described as spry., Ouch!

At some point, and I don’t know when, I turned from being romantic when walking down the street holding my wife’s hand to it being referred to as cute. Ouch again.

I like being an overachiever as much as the next person. But I don’t want the bar lowered, so just getting out of bed in the morning is worthy of a ‘well done.’

Please give this a bit of a think. What did you do that brought you a surprising notice of a well done? Why were you surprised? How did you respond? Would you respond differently today?

I’m curious about your thoughts. Please share your bit of a think in the comment section below. It will come to me for approval before posting.

Photo by Wil Stewart on Unsplash

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4 thoughts on “Less Overachieving

  1. Patti Dolman says:

    The closest I’ve come to hearing a “well done” is when friends will say, “I don’t know how you do it.”
    At 77 I should be attending recreational clubs, playing some bridge or Mai Jong , going on walks, joining a yoga class or volunteering. But I’d be too exhausted.
    Apparently, working as an educational assistant (EA), and preparing dinner for my daughter and two grandsons (ages 5 & 17 month ) every day mid-week has earned me a certain status .

    • glenn says:

      Well done. Thanks for sharing your story. It is important to let folks know that busy seniors walk amongst them.

  2. Gail Benshabat says:

    I was chatting with a teacher a few weeks ago and we got on the subject of age. She seemed to have the impression that I was younger than 69 years old. When I told her my age she said “What! You’re not sixty nine! My mother is close to your age. You sure don’t walk like someone that age.” I didn’t know how to respond to that one. I figured I had to take that as a compliment!

    • glenn says:

      It is a compliment. It will be a good day when it is just a comment, meaning active seniors are not a rare creature!

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