The following is from a nice blog called Mark’s Daily Apple. Despite the legendary power of an apple a day to keep the doctor away, I was able to visit the site and found that it is committed to, “Serving up health and fitness insights (daily, of course) with a side of irreverence.” I like this sort of thing and was interested in Mark’s “Ten Rules of Aging Well.” So here are my notes on Rule Number Five, “Think Young:”
“Your one life is a precious gift, but “thinking young” is about more than thinking positively or staying interested in current trends and world events.”
Well I agree that life is precious and that people really do want to stay alive. I am not so sure what “thinking young” is but I am pretty sure that I agree with Mark that “thinking positively or staying interested in current trends and world events” is not solely the province of the young. I might point out that when it comes to reading a daily newspaper, older people beat the pants off younger people.
“Realize that even at 55, 65, 75 and beyond, you are “young”. As long as you are alive and taking every intelligent step to get the most from your body and your life, you are young. Living itself is the ultimate fountain of youth.”
Umm. Mark is starting to lose me here. If you are “young” no matter what your age, then the concept of “youth” sort of loses its meaning. Mark’s checklist for Youthfulness:
1) You are alive.
2) You are “taking every intelligent step to get the most from your body and your life.”
The assumption being implied but not spoken is that “getting the most from your body” means achieving performance measures that are typically associated with the first half of life. I am more interested in helping people find wellness, where they are today, not wellness as it was defined in their youth.
Lastly, Betty Friedan said it best, the Fountain of Age is more real and more beneficial than any fountain of youth could ever hope to be.
“Look at the way children play and are curious. Don’t lose that spirit. I think we all tend to take life far too seriously. While responsibility is important, don’t lose your sense of joy. If someone in your life doesn’t understand that, it’s really their loss. You are who you think you are. If you are constantly telling people you are just “okay” or that you’re tired (again), that’s what you are. There is no harm in thinking positively, so train yourself to do so. Negative thoughts are unproductive and unnecessary. Use “outcome thinking” where you visualize what you want rather than focusing on what was or what might go wrong. I’m not advocating living in the clouds and ignoring reality, but when you take stock of reality, think about the positive outcome you hope to gain from the situation.”
An open, searching approach to life seems to serve people of all ages quite well. It is one of the flaws of our society that a vibrant, curious nature is seen not just as an attribute of the young but even seems limited to the very young (i.e. children). I can say, with confidence that older people have a far more confident grasp on “who they really are” than younger people. The fact is that it takes most people many decades of living to answer the question “Who am I?” fully and accurately.