Happiness is neither without us nor within us. It is in God, both without us and within us.

~ Blaise Pascal ~

How Old Are You, When You Feel Young?

November 28th, 2011 ~ Est. reading time: 1 min, 47 secs

What do you call old?

Remember when you were a kid and you knew that teacher who seemed so old? I do. Mrs McIntyre seemed so ancient to me that I thought she could die of old age on the spot. Her wispy grey-white hair and horn-rimmed glasses matched her old-fashioned frock and Nineteenth Century shoes. Being ten, I thought I pretty much knew enough to conclude she must have been seventy at least.

That was back in the early 1970s, so dear Mrs McIntyre must have long since passed away. Unless of course she is well over a hundred and ten. But times have changed, haven’t they?

Now fifty is the new thirty, and seventy is the new fifty. We no longer consider getting older to mean being passed it, or declining. It just depends on how old we seem to be, rather than how old we are.

So you’re sixty? Are you a young sixty or an old tired sixty (Maybe the answer to that changes, depending on how you felt when you woke up this morning). Now more than ever, how old you are in the social sense, depends on you.

We used to live next door to a couple who I also considered old. So it shocked me to discover years later that they were younger than me. That left me wondering what makes a person seem old?

I’ve known a few octogenarians with pep in their step and a twinkle in their eyes that made them look like wrinkly twenty-five year olds. So there’s something about the way we think, move, and live that determines how “old” we seem to be.

Apart from the crinkles, thinning hair, and such, what seems most within our control is the way we look at life. Do we conclude, like I did at ten, that we pretty much know enough? Or do we keep a wonder of discovery close and dare to think we’ve only just scraped the surface of what life supplies?

Is it possible to respect somebody whatever their age? To give deference to a child and learn that a lifetime of experience isn’t all there is? Can you throw off the feeling that you’re “old” and have had the best years of your life already; in exchange for new discoveries every day? Sure, it’s possible. You don’t need to be “old,” whatever your age. You just need to keep that wellspring of wonder and forget about being a number. That way, you can be as young in spirit as you choose. Your best time starts….now!




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