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AGING IS A CHOICE Part 10 – Being an Older Dad Keeps Me Young   

By Robert Manni

When my son celebrated his first birthday, I submitted an article to the Huffington Post about the joys of being an older father. The response was predominantly positive, but I was surprised by a few negative, finger-wagging posts deeming me selfish, stupid, and irresponsible for becoming a parent in my mid-fifties. 

A year later, it looked like they were right. I experienced a painful kidney stone which led to a diagnosis of growths on both my kidneys. I was told that if left untreated, over time, it could lead to my demise. But I had a talented surgeon and nine years later, I remain dis-ease free. Yet this wake-up call, what I needed then to make important changes in my life, remains a testament of how we can continue to grow more youthful and vital as we age.

Like many seemingly bad occurrences, the gift of my dis-ease was a new direction in life. I left the toxic advertising agency world and began life as author, blogger, and podcaster (before so many others started podcasting). Over the next few years, I gave up eating meat, began meditating, became certified in Reiki, hypnosis, and Ho’oponopono, and started intermittent fasting. Many of these changes took place while my son was still a toddler. With my wife working outside the home, my son and I had lots of time to explore our NYC neighborhood and beyond. But I have to say, at times, I was tearing my hair out juggling work and being a full-time parent. Looking back, I realize my son is my greatest teacher and my secret weapon for managing the aging process. With every month and year that he grows older, I feel younger. I want to live vigorously, remain healthy, and help him grow into a man. So, I keep making positive changes. The good news is, it’s working!

Here are some of the benefits of being an older dad—gleaned from over the past ten years and counting:

I stay fit

I’ve always been active and into physical fitness by choice. Now it’s a necessity if I want to keep up with my son and teach him the finer points of the sporting life. We play baseball, go on long bike rides together, boogie-board at the beach, swim, and go on family hikes on the many wonderful trails near the coast. The list of activities is endless and is filled with fun stuff I enjoyed as a kid and may have put aside if it weren’t for my young son. Baby, I’m back!

I’m learning new things

Whenever we’re together, my son asks me questions about everything, often things I have not thought about in decades. Whether the topic is sports, music, cars, money, or even politics, he sees me as an all-knowing reference guide. This pushes me to learn things that keep me current while accessing information I stored away long ago. His endless inquiries keep me sharp, and best of all, I love our conversations. Hearing his fresh, innocent, and often more sensible perspective, reminds me that us older dudes don’t know everything.

Younger connections keep me youthful at heart

Whenever I attend a Cub Scout, Little League, or other event with my son, I’m usually the oldest person in the group. I enjoy connecting with younger parents. I get exposed to new ideas and experiences and find more opportunities to stay active with my son. Being social with a younger generation reminds me that I can do more and helps me stay young at heart.

I’m grateful every day

As you can ascertain, being an older dad has been a gift for me. I am very appreciative of my health and my loving wife and son. They motivate me to think young, act young, make healthy choices, and maintain a sense of play. For that I am eternally grateful and determined to do whatever it takes to remain as vital as I feel right now.

So, if you see an older dad in his sixties doing his best to keep up with his kid, send him some positive energy to help keep him going!