It was George Bernard Shaw who said that “youth is wasted on the young”. We live in a youth orientated society and the older you get, sometimes the more invisible you feel. People fear saying how old they are and spend a fortune trying to recapture their youth. You only have to look at the growth of cosmetic surgery. Now there’s nothing wrong in wanting to look good and I’m not against plastic surgery. But if you think you can keep your youth simply through a nip and tuck think again or else you’ll be disappointed and poorer.
We all know people that just don’t look their age but more importantly, don’t seem their age. What’s their secret? Well genetics dictate the aging process and some win and some lose on that one. However, what is within every ones control is their attitude towards life.
If you want to stay young, you need to think young. For example, children and young people are interested in life. They get out and try things, have a social circle, take risks and most importantly laugh and have fun. None of these qualities are restricted to the young. You only become old if you limit your world, become entrenched in beliefs that are outdated and don’t try new things.
Some things like exercise and updating your image are part of this. Exercise ensures you stay fit and supple and it’s that suppleness that gives an impression of youth. Get out and about; take a dance or yoga class – much more fun than hitting the gym. Keep what you’ve got for as long as you’ve got it.
You are never too old or too unfit to find a class that suits your needs. Don’t give up. In case you think “well that’s easy for her to say!” I have been there, got the T shirt and the CD. After caring for my husband who had a terminal illness I realised that I had put on weight and was extremely unfit. I couldn’t walk to the end of my road without it seeming like a marathon. It made me think because I have far too much energy to be trapped in an unfit body. It took about eight weeks of persistent walking each day, finding a fitness trainer who would work with and not kill me and above all determination. In life no determination equals no gain. I would go to bed and wake up aching but I knew if I could just keep at it, it would get better.
Albert Ellis, founder of a therapy called Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy, coined the term “low frustration tolerance”. This is when you give up because you are not getting what you want at the pace you want it. If you want it, you have to stick at it, whatever the ‘it’ is.
Lesson 1 – Tough.
You didn’t become unfit overnight so why would you become fit that quickly? There were many days when I had to give myself a ‘kick up the backside’ but hey, it worked, I now walk regularly, have speeded up, am more flexible and have that way of moving associated with youth. As I got better I took on more types of exercise but not anything that would damage, just stretch me. You can give up, say it’s too difficult or you can grit your teeth and focus on the end goal. This doesn’t just apply to fitness; it applies to anything you set your mind to. You choose.
Lesson 2 – Get out there.
As we grow older, people move away or die, or we move to new geographical areas. All of these things can reduce our social circle. Would you believe that this is not limited to the older person? Younger people have the same challenges. As we move around for work and away from family and friends the phenomenon of loneliness can hit anyone. Find activities you are interested in. There are some wonderful apps like “Meetup” that list all sorts of groups and activities in your area. It can feel scary but what would you rather, be scared for a short while but make friends and enjoy activities, or stay at home and be miserable, maybe permanently? You choose.
Lesson 3 – Be interested.
Keeping your mind active is an essential part of staying young. Learning something new, reading the papers, engaging on discussion forums are just a few things you can do. Young people are curious about everything and it’s that curiosity that makes life interesting. If you are engaged in learning something, anything you have more to talk about and, in turn, you become a more interesting person. Why is it that many younger people like hanging around with an older person? Simple that person is interesting. Likely they are someone who tries things and doesn’t mind making fun of who they are. Energy attracts energy. You can settle down and think everything is too much bother, you know enough and that you are not appreciated for what you know. Alternatively, you can engage in learning – you chose.
Lesson 4 – Smile
Smiling lifts your mood which can’t be bad and it also radiates to others. Think of the people who are often told they come into a room and light it up. They smile. The more you smile the more other people smile back and relate to you. Smiling sends a message and can lift the spirits of those around you. As you seem more approachable you increase your chances of making new friends. This may seem something small yet it is a power tool. If you want to remain young then ensure you engage with those around you, whether you do so for a minute, an hour or longer. You chose.
Lesson 5 – Create Self-Enhancing Self-Talk.
We all have little voices in our head. Most of the time, we don’t know those voices are there but they influence much of what we do. They are the voices that lead people to be pessimistic or optimistic about life. For some those voices undermine what they do – “what will people think?”, “am I good enough?” “I may make a mistake?” It’s the negative voices or ‘self-talk, that limit what we do, how we feel and what we can achieve. An optimistic person will take those three questions and turn them around, “People have better things to think about then me!” “I may not get all of it right but I can only get better, just have a go” “It’s not the end of the world if I make a mistake and I’ll learn something”.
If you want to stay young, you need to experience life. You can’t do that if you stop yourself from trying new things, meeting new people and going to new places. Therefore, when that pesky negative voice starts talking to you, capture it and turn it around. Look for the positive and most important of all don’t listen to it. You can continue to let that voice limit you or you can turn it around. You chose.
Lesson 6 – Life’s too short.
We all get a certain life span; we can protect it by looking after ourselves. However, time will pass regardless of what we do. Now the question is, do you want to wake up with regrets one day or feel that you have truly lived your life? Just because you are getting older doesn’t mean you have to settle for less. The older we get the more we have experienced and learned about life. Why not use this knowledge. You could share it and pass it on. You could use it to make your life better. Rather than saying “I used to” why not say “I would like to”. We all hear stories about people in their 50’s, 60’s, 70s and beyond doing amazing things – that could be you. You chose.