How to Stay Young; Mind, Body, and Spirit

Dr. Purushothaman
January 16, 2014

I made a big mistake when I turned eighteen: I left behind all the actions that made me youthful for ideas that made me feel "grown up." Then I tried to apply all those grown up things to real life. Turned out all those adult actions only stressed me out, bogged me down, and zapped my creativity. Let's face it, I was getting old!
Whether you're 30 or 80, the biggest mistake you ever made was leaving behind that carefree feeling of being a kid. Like the old saying goes, "you're only as old as you feel"--trite but true. Most of our old-age ails can be directly contributed to losing our youthful way.
For example; as we get older we often see the need for play diminish in our lives. Play is for kids, we think. So we drop the football games and one-on-one basketball tournaments. We don't even walk anymore. And over time, our bodies soften, stiffen, and basically deteriorate due to lack of use. This lack of exercise then opens the door wide for age related diseases. If we'd spend more exercising, we'd never feel this way in the first place.
I once knew a 70-year-old man who ran everyday (just like recess), ran 4 miles. He was lean--I never seen him down with a cold--and could outrun 30-year-olds in far less shape. Obviously this was one part of his childhood he hadn't left behind. He felt compelled to keep running, to stay fit, and he enjoyed it. Exercise also made him look 20 years younger than his less active peers.
Mentally we let ourselves go too. As a kid we are always curious about life around us, but curiosity is seen as childish when we become adults. We start losing our zest for life when we lose our curiosity. Instead of taking risks and asking questions, we play it safe. And instead of being spontaneous, we fall into old-age type routines and mannerisms. But the young mind seeks out change with curiosity and embraces the opportunity to play and learn. A key difference in young versus old.
If you want to feel younger, you first must act younger. Try out a new technology with an open mind saying, "I can learn this; I want to learn this!" Remember what it was like discovering new things when you were younger--how open you were to the novelty of change. Now remember that and apply it to your life today.
Finally, get involved with your community. Read to children, fix things for those who can't, lend a hand where it's needed, and even take on a part time job to stay busy. You'll have less time to think "I'm old" and more time to realize, "the world is new to me everyday." It's just like when you were a kid; everything is new.

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