"Growing Up vs. Growing Old" by Hazel Broughton

THE BOOK THAT CHANGED MY LIFE (Or a Philosophical Discourse on Growing Up vs. Growing Old)

I have been a voracious reader all my life, I have read hundreds, maybe thousands of books of all kinds. They have been my friends, my company, and my companions.

Many books interested me, some have inspired me, others educated me but only one crystallized my ideas and gave me a lifelong goal.

I was in my middle 20’s, not an age that you normally are very concerned with aging, when I was asked to do a book review for my study club. For some reason, I chose “How To Grow Old Rebelliously”. It was to set a course for me through the uncharted years ahead. Although, I don’t recall the author’s name, I have never forgotten what he said.

He spoke of how true aging occurs within – not without – that outward symbols – gray hair, lined skin and slower steps may occur but they are meaningless as long as there is a zest for life, an appreciation of beauty, a love of learning, a quest for adventure; you are young. There seems to be a belief in our society that as we age, we lose our enthusiasm, our hope and wonder, our trust and willingness to experience the untried and most important, our competence. No wonder we refuse to think about aging, that’s enough to frighten anyone. It certainly did me. I refused to consider that possibility, I would not!


I decided that I would absolutely refuse to accept, endorse or buy into that wholly unattractive view of a part of life that weakens, disenfranchises and discourages people, a view based on someone else’s perceptions.

I would not allow myself the ultimate cop-outs, “I’m too old for that – or at my age I can’t.“ I would name them for what they are; excuses, for by labeling myself as too old, I wouldn’t have to do a lot of things.

I wouldn’t have to be responsible for my health, watch my diet, exercise, stay mentally alert, and continue to be independent. No, I could accept poor health as a natural consequence of aging and relax and BE Old. I believe that these attitudes have created a self-fulfilling prophecy and caused more deaths and disabilities than all the diseases combined.

The aging process is just that, a process, a process that occurs naturally from the time we are born – it doesn’t happen at any special age – it’s always there – developing – becoming- growing- changing. Hopefully, we grow into wisdom; develop understanding, and become all that we are capable of being. Ultimately, we can reach our full potential if we put aside our fears, allow ourselves to challenge the expectations of others. By denying the commonly held beliefs that describe aging we can give ourselves a chance to experience all that life can offer us if we dare. We can stand up and declare, I refuse to allow you to diminish me, for I am the culmination of years of learning, growing, experiencing, making choices, some good, some poor, but all of them offering growth possibilities. Life is meant to be lived, not wasted by regretting, excusing and blaming. Challenges are there for us to use to develop into learning new ways to think and act. Enjoy life, ‘cause it ain’t over til it’s over and then it’s too late for regrets.

I proudly consider myself to be a lifelong rebel involved in the most exciting game around. LIVING.

About the Author:

I lived in Corpus during WWII and graduated from DelMar and have a B.A and M.A. from A&M CC, lived there until 1978 when I moved to Houston. I worked as a Certified Rehab Counselor and a Hearing Officer for Texas Rehab in Houston, retiring in 2007 and returning to Rockport. I have taken writing courses at Rice which were very helpful and completely enjoyable.

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