It has often been said, and i believe it with all my heart, that youth is a state of mind. How often have you come across a thirty-something year old who has a world-weary attitude to everything life has to offer, and then again how often have you come across an eighty-something year old, whose very joie-de-vivre and spontaneity is a joy to behold? Remaining young is serious business and must not be taken lightly. Now of course, i do not discount the fact that all sorts of creams and varnishes will no doubt contribute (marginally) to you looking younger. But looking young and feeling young are not always one and the same thing…Believe me, in the long run, it is feeling young that will stand you in good stead. The following are traits and qualities that i have picked up from some amazingly “young (at heart)” people i have met at different junctures in my life….They have taught me without meaning to, inspired me without setting out to, and made me realise that being young is something any of us can aspire to become:
Secret No. 1 ~ Have a sense of humour! Remember that famous quote about learning to laugh at oneself? That is the surest recipe for becoming and continuing to remain young. These young at heart life-gurus i have met have an amazing knack to let out peals of laughter that seem to bubble from the farthest recesses of their hearts even when the joke is turned upon themselves. “Have they no self-respect?” you might well ask, because laughing even when the joke is directed at one’s own self has often been considered by some as spinelessness, and an inability to stand up for oneself. I am not talking about those who dish out verbal abuse and insults at you. That of course must not be tolerated. I am simply drawing your attention to the fact that even taking merry banter in the right spirit is not everyone’s cup of tea. Try and look for genuine humour in any given situation, even when it is you yourself who is the cause of the humour. Laughing at oneself not only lightens the mood, but also sends out a loud and clear message stating ” I am secure within myself and can laugh at this episode, because it truly is worth laughing about!!!”
Secret No. 2 ~ Learn something new! The surest way to grow old before your time is to stop learning. Now, you don’t necessarily have to shake yourself out of a stupor and go and enrol for the latest course in the local university (although that might not be such a bad idea!). Learning something new each day does not have to be a daunting, expensive process. Knowledge can be gained wherever we are and wherever we go. Many of my “rich-in-experience” mentors have attempted to learn a new art or craft, some even when they were in their mid-eighties. Be it quilting or pottery or chess, learning a new skill sets the adrenalin pulsing through our veins, and keeps the mind (which when empty can turn into that devil’s workshop alright!) healthy and occupied.
Secret No. 3 ~ Develop a poor memory! Aha! Now that got your attention, didn’t it?? What can “develop a poor memory” mean, when all over the world people are trying (often in vain) to improve their memories? Let me explain…. Albert Schweitzer once said : “Happiness? That’s nothing more than health and a poor memory”. Remembering every slight and insult, every wrong word ever spoken to you will not only keep you awake at night (and make you late for that all-important meeting the next morning), but will also ensure that you grow old and crabby and miserable. The person who said all those unforgivable pearls of (non) wisdom has probably forgotten it all light moons ago, while you mull over them year after year, putting yourself at the top of the candidate’s list for the next stress attack. Learn to forget…..sometimes, if the choice is between forgetting and moving on or remembering and being stuck in a venomous rut forever, it is by far better to have a poor memory indeed!
I like to call these valuable lessons i have learned the “laugh, learn, let go” philosophy. It has helped me make many a friend, puzzle many an enemy and persuade many a cynic.