Let’s be honest. Being young again is a seductive idea. And trying to fulfill society’s expectations to be young at all times is tempting.
But responding to pressure and fighting the consequence of aging often means falling down the rabbit hole. You end up spending your hard earned money, buckets of time and risking your health if you use a bunch of chemicals.
Yes, accepting that we’re growing old, dried up, wrinkled and grey-haired can be heartbreaking.
What’s far worse, though, is to confuse looking young with feeling youthful and to invest all of our efforts into the first while neglecting the latter.
We can’t turn back the clock.
However, if we rule out the vanity and superficial motivators to look younger,
Why is it such an imperative to feel young at heart?
Let’s take these 3 successful people as an example, in the attempt to answer this question.
Susan Boyle was a Scottish singer and “a nobody.” She suffered from a mild brain damage due to a brief lack of oxygen during her birth. She was bullied at school, laughed at and mocked all of her life. But the silly, childish dream she had since she was just a little girl, to become a famous singer, never gave in. And despite her age (47) and the not so trendy appearance, she triumphed in Britain’s Got Talent show 2009, which led to a successful career. Her lifelong dream came true.
Sune Larsson founded his business for providing serviced offices in his 50s. Why? He just couldn’t settle into a job he didn’t enjoy.
And after being laid off plenty of times and sick of it to the bone, Regina Mason opened the doors of her bakery when she was 54.
Would these people overcome all the business start-up hurdles if they didn’t see themselves as vibrant, enthusiastic and, in a word, young?
(This is not the one and only prerequisite, of course, but it sure plays a big role.)
Staying young at heart can not only help us live longer but also help us achieve more, be happier and more fulfilled.
Because young people believe anything is possible. They are not afraid to take risks and experiment. Learn new things and adopt new skills.
So what's the catch for being young if it's not about the absence of wrinkles and age spots?
Well, the mindset, of course.
When we reach a certain age, we lose the natural plasticity and flexibility of our mindframe. We are more aware of the consequences of every action and afraid of the negative outcomes.
“I’m too old for this,” becomes a handy excuse.
We get tired when we so much as think about changing “the way we roll.”
And it gets so easy to settle down in the comfort of routines and the lack of challenges.
The only problem is, this leads to depression and lethargy. And plain old boredom.
It’s like giving up on life before life gave up on you.
Let’s be realistic, though. Falling down the downward spiral at least once (but more likely dozens of times) as we grow old is inevitable.
So how to break from it?
Rejuvenate your body, mind and soul and stay youthful for as long as you live
Maybe it’s been decades since you last worked out and you may think it’s too late to start again.
You can guess what’s coming, right?
It’s never too late!
Take Harriette Thompson for example. She first started running at 50 and ran her first half-marathon when she was 76. She broke the record for the marathon female runners over 90 at the age of 91.
And she’s not the only one. You need not run a marathon to rejuvenate your body, but committing to your favorite kind of physical activity can go a long way.
Other than working out, here are the basic experts’ recommendations for taking good care of your body at all ages:
- Drink a lot of water;
- Intake enough fruit and vegetables;
- Cut the white sugar from your diet;
- Eat healthy snacks;
- Protect and nourish your skin;
- Groom yourself;
- Quit bad habits;
- Go easy with alcohol;
- Sleep enough;
- Pamper yourself with regular massages.
If you want to rejuvenate your mind, don't let the NOW slip away. As we get older, we tend to drift away in memories, dwell on our regrets and disappointments, or dread the future.
But all we have is now. So embrace the present moment, become mindful and enjoy it.
Your dark thoughts can come and go, but they can’t control you if you don’t let them.
Mindfulness will bring you a lot of spiritual benefits. You’ll become more peaceful, less stressful and happier.
And just how does one become mindful?
Meditation is what first comes to mind. But you can practice mindfulness in anything you do. The point is to sharp-focus your mind on the lovely little details of now.
If you’re drinking tea, for example, focus on your cup. And how your fingers wrap around it. Pay attention to the soothing smell that rises out from your cup. Observe the seductive curves the smoke makes as it blends into the air. And finally indulge into the calming, gentle taste that caresses your mouth and slides into your throat.
Yet, you can revitalize the way your mind functions in many additional ways. And these are a few:
- Challenge yourself to play a new instrument;
- Learn a new language;
- Or grapple with Social Media and learn how to use the new app everybody is raving about online.
- Hang out with young (in heart) people and meet new folks.
Depending on which “How old your soul is” quiz you choose on the Internet, your results could vary between “an early teenager” and an old, at least 50-year-old soul.
Seriously, though, no matter how tired you are, how wrinkled or hunched you appear and how many naps you need in a day, when you close your eyes and imagine yourself, how old are you?
Is it you who you see in the mirror or that youngster, smiling at the world, full of hope, dreams and the energy to pursue them?
Maybe you can see that boy/girl, but sad, disappointed or even bitter because he/she didn’t achieve everything he/she hoped to.
Yes, they say it’s never too late, but it may be. Maybe you will never achieve everything you hoped. No matter how hard you try.
Still, that doesn’t mean you have to spend all your remaining days here on Earth, feeling old, spent and full of regrets.
If you want to rejuvenate your soul, feel perky again and full of zest for life, you need to let go.
Say goodbye to friends who left you and went separate paths. Accept that you never became the musician, the player, the manager… you hoped to be. It’s just the way your life unfolded. Forgive yourself for all the wrong decisions and all the mistakes you made. You gave your best. Forgive your family members, friends and colleagues who may have wronged you. Chances are they tried their best too.
Let go of your past.
Imagine your young, fresh and bright-eyed self, giving a warm, healing and forgiving hug to your old, tired self and waving goodbye as it goes into the oblivion.
This has nothing to do with your reflection in the mirror. But it's crucial for the rest of your life. And how long the “rest” will last.
So, what should the young-you do to keep your soul vital and juvenile until the very end?
Again, help yourself to a couple of suggestions to spark up your own ideas:
- Stay out all night;
- Dance and sing as often as you can;
- Dress up and do your hair;
- Go to movies and concerts;
- Do something crazy, like getting a tattoo or skydiving;
- Or something you've never dared to;
- Travel to an exotic country.
You could be 55. Or 60. Even 70 years old, perhaps. But instead of thinking how old you are, that your life is ebbing away, instead of focusing on the past and worrying about the future, try to think this way:
You have another 20, 30 (or more) years ahead of you!
20 years! You will retire, your kids will grow up (or it has already happened).
Now you can do whatever you put your mind to! Why not make all these years really count? Be the best yet.
Don’t let your age be your prison and make the best use of the time you have left to appreciate, enjoy and celebrate the divine gift of life.