Don’t Let the Old Man In

The story goes that some years ago Toby Keith was playing golf at Clint Eastwood’s Carmel golf tournament when he learned that the actor’s 88th birthday was just a few days away.

Toby asked Clint how he planned to celebrate his birthday to which Eastwood replied that he would be spending his birthday shooting a new movie called The Mule.

Surprised that Eastwood was still producing movies at his age, Keith wondered how Eastwood remained so energetic. Eastwood responded, “I just get up every morning and go out. And I don’t let the old man in.”

Keith knew he had to put those words in a song for Eastwood and so he did–Don’t Let the Old Man In. After Eastwood heard the song, he featured it over the closing credits of The Mule with Willie Nelson singing it.

When you reach a certain age in your life, it seems that a tug-of-war with old age begins to take place inside your head. Some people describe the sensation as my body feels like it is 65 (or 75 or 85) but in my mind I’m still 25.

It’s like the older version of yourself is trying to subdue the younger version of yourself.

And, the older your get the more contentious the struggle with the older version becomes. While your bodily strength and endurance decline with age, what you feel and think doesn’t grow old, it just becomes refined!

I think Clint’s observation is good advice for all of us older versions of our younger selves. You can’t allow old age to steal purpose and passion from the life you are still living.

When he rides up on his horse
And you feel that cold bitter wind
Look out your window and smile
Don’t let the old man in

Since The Mule was released Clint has more movie credits. He directed Richard Jewell and was filmmaker and leading man in Cry Macho. At this writing Clint Eastwood is 92.    

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