Young at Heart

My blogger friend Miss “Sarah on the Go” is approaching her quarter century milestone and wrote a wonderful post about her thoughts which you can read here. And it got me thinking…. what keeps us young? Why is it that some of us seem ancient at 50 and others of us are so vitally alive at 90 something? We can’t prevent the aging process, or those chronic conditions or illnesses that speed it up & make it difficult to function – but I’ve come to the conclusion that attitude is everything when it comes to keeping ourselves spiritually and psychologically young.

I hit the big 5-0 on New Years Eve. This type of milestone certainly does lead one to reflect. Am I where I expected to be at this point in my life? Have I accomplished any of the things I thought I would do by now? Am I happy? Have I made a difference to anyone? Answers: No – but then again I’m not exactly sure what I expected. Yes- some of them. Yes, I am happy. And, I sincerely hope I have. I’ve been working on my attitude a lot recently. My innate tendency is to be somewhat pessimistic and I’ve been working hard to overcome that – finding things to be grateful for, and seeking out people who reinforce a positive outlook. This hasn’t been easy – life events have a way of interfering with my best laid plans. But I’m rolling with it. I have to. Blogging/writing helps – and increases my exposure to a huge number of extremely positive, caring people from very diverse places and backgrounds. This is a good thing, a very good thing indeed.

So what contributes to a positive attitude? Humor – finding the funny can be difficult sometimes, but there’s nothing like a good laugh. And if you can laugh at yourself – even better. Creativity – keeping those little grey cells occupado. Having a hobby or even just reading has tremendous benefit, even if it’s just to ward off boredom. Relationships. Those connections are crucial to maintain in order to ward off depression or ameliorate it. Openness to trying new things and venturing down that road less traveled, at least occasionally. Me time. There’s nothing wrong with a little self pampering and we shouldn’t feel guilty about it as long as we don’t go overboard. Spontaneity. Being flexible is key to remaining spiritually youthful. Gratitude. As I’ve said, this is a biggie for me. When things go south its good to remind myself that despite my problems I still have it pretty darn good. I have a thankful list and I try to review it frequently. Another blogger friend, Kate, has a “daily gratitude” page on her blog, which you can read here. She is one of the most positive people I’ve ever encountered. Finally, there’s Faith, or Spirituality. I believe God will help us – even if it’s not the help we think we need at that time.

Getting to that positive place and remaining young at heart takes some work. But its worth it. Take my dear father for example. He was (only) 79 when he was suddenly taken from us. I guess you could say he looked his age, but he certainly didn’t act it. Dad was always busy. Working, socializing. Antique cars was a hobby – and he had a couple of them. He also loved to cook, and was a voracious reader. (I get it from him I guess). Dad was always up for an adventure, especially if the grand kids were involved. I could call him late on a Friday and fully expect him to go to the beach with me on Saturday. Or, maybe he’d just show up for dinner unannounced a few times a week. Young at heart? You betcha! I’ll leave you with this; which sums it up better than I probably can:

“Fairy tales can come true
It can happen to you
If you’re young at heart, for it’s hard, you will find,
To be narrow of mind
If you’re young at heart
You can go to extremes
With impossible schemes
You can laugh when your dreams
Fall apart at the seams
And life becomes exciting with each passing day,
And love is either in your heart… or on its way.

Don’t you know that it’s worth
Every treasure on earth
To be young at heart?
For, as rich as you are,
It’s much better by far
To be young at heart
And, if you should survive
To a hundred and five,
Look at all you’ll derive
Just by being alive!
Now, here is the best part:
You have a head start
If you are among the very young…
At heart.”

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4 thoughts on “Young at Heart

  1. Hey, you sound like Pollyana (ha, ha 🙂 ) I will hit one past 50 in a week, so as far as life mile stones, I’m either in the dulldrums or starting to coast downhill… hardly, if you are following my Farm Life posts. Being “young” is our society’s construct and aspiration. Being active is my ambition. You have some great suggestions regarding attitude and activity. In my profession, occupational therapy, closely akin to your background in social work, I see people hit the 40’s & 50’s and just collapse physically and emotionally, or I see people keep movig into their 70’s, 80’s, 90’s… Keep moving!
    Oscar
    P.S. you can read my post about turning 50 athttp://hermitsdoor.wordpress.com/2011/04/07/on-half-a-century/
    PSS. Of course, after turning 50 you get to have a colonostomy… if you really care to know, read http://hermitsdoor.wordpress.com/2011/04/20/colon-o/

    • That colon stuff, not looking forward to that at all. Keep moving – great advice. Physically, intellectually, creatively, spiritually. Btw thoroughly enjoyed your Pollyanna post- felt like I was sitting in the audience too!

    • I am too! But when you get down to it, they’re all interrelated. Tonight, my “joy” was watching Brad, Orlando, Sean, and Eric in “Troy”. ;D Grateful for my eyesight !

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