Want to Stay Young?

Being Young

A while ago–or maybe not so long ago– I was a college student.  And not too long before that I was racing a bicycle across town or crawling through drain pipes throughout the neighbourhood not wanting the day to end.

Things are a little different now.  We have physically aged a little since then.  Some mornings are a little harder to deal with or bed times are way earlier than they were a few years ago, even on the weekend.

Friends we have had for years are different too.  Some have grey hairs or even fully salt and peppered (I have avoided that so far…).  We all have probably gained some weight and there are arguments with the optometrist on what kind of glasses are now needed.

Some of the older friends just rock the age thing and, though matured, still are having a blast at life as if their heart still has not figured out that years are passing.  Then there are those that may be years younger but act like they would be happy to sit at home and wait for the undertaker.

Here are a few ways to keep young at heart:

Continual Learning

Continually ask questions and be curious.  Discover something new each day or even more often.  Read and think to keep your mind active.  Novels are great for a break but a book where you can learn a new skill or develop and improve current skills can help the mind and life outlook to stay young.

Keep yourself to high standards

This follows on to continual learning.  Keeping working hard and maybe even raise your standards from what where you have been.  And a good work ethic will stand out.  Interestingly, I have found that when I can do this I enjoy my work better.  Anyone can produce average work but setting high standards for yourself will challenge you and, at the end of the day, you will feel better about yourself.  If there is no standard to achieve or ethic to uphold, at the end of the day, there will consistently be frustration and a feeling of a lack of accomplishment. 

People Focused

Interact with others on a regular basis.   This is something that I have invested a lot more time and effort in recently and am seeing benefits. 

First spend focused time with individuals.  If you have a ‘significant other’, date.  Spend time together without interruption, talking and laughing (laughing together is probably the most effective experiences for growing closer together).  Spend some good, quality, one on one time with a parent or your child.

Play games with family and/or friends.  A longer, strategy game for a few hours or a fast thinking card game for a few minute.  This evening, as dinner was finishing up, we played a very high paced matching game.  A little smack talk thrown in and then some loud celebration when dad beat all the kids.

Be social and not just with those your age or stage of life. There are individuals that are in subsequent stages of life that can provide wisdom and anecdotes for where you are and where you are going.  There are younger ones that encourage the sense of adventure but you too can invest in them.  They can even teach lessons from some new thing that they learned or they may have skills that you want to develop.

Pose Young

No, don’t pretend to be a teenager.  Be mature but have a good posture.  Have you noticed that people that act old tend to slouch.  So straighten your back and walk with confidence.  Years ago I was told, when entering a room, fill the door.  Use doorways as a trigger to fix your posture.

Exercise on a regular basis.  This will help with assorted chemicals that will make you feel good about yourself and give you more energy.  The exercise will strengthen muscles and tone up your body.  With correct exercise, posture will be improved as well.

Grab that better half and give them a twirl.  Turn on some music and dance the evening away.  This is good exercise but great to bring some joy.  Sometimes it is great for a good laugh too!  Having fun and laughing also provides assorted chemicals to make you feel younger.  And feeling younger has the effect of posing younger.  

There are many other activities that could go here.  Take up a hobby, do something unusual, take a risk, etc.  Have fun, relax.

Remain today focused

Be positive!  These days I find this one of the hardest to work on.  Focus on what is happening to day and the opportunities it can and will put forth.  We have today to make a difference in other people’s lives.

Remember those great times in the past.  They were the best.  Or were they?  We have so many more options today and opportunities.  We have the ability and resources to accumulate more things than ever.  We have “toys” now that we would have never dreamed we could have.  Houses are larger, clothes are less expensive, food is readily available.  I could go on.

Do not act like an old person with the perspective that “their generation is the greatest.  Everyone coming behind them is going to hell” (John Maxwell, Developing the Leader Within You).  If what is happening today is not great than that is our problem.  We need to do something to make a difference.

These few ways are intertwined with each other as well.  But we need to look at how we see others, ourselves and the world.  Invest in others, keep yourself healthy and young at heart, and look at the world around as full of opportunities. You may become grey but you will still seem young.

Moving Forward

While sitting on the couch, have you ever noticed that the scenery does not change much? Have you ever waited for a change or improvement in a relationship? Do you want better friends? How about a better work environment or job opportunity? At times we all want changes.

Moving Forward - The scenery on the couch does not change.
The scenery on the couch does not change.

While sitting on the couch, have you ever noticed that the scenery does not change much? Have you ever waited for a change or improvement in a relationship? Do you want better friends? How about a better work environment or job opportunity? At times we all want changes.

But we sit there and wait for someone to do something, often complaining that things are not changing. Who is ultimately responsible for you? You!

So, what are you doing about it? Make a list of what you want and then a strategy on what task you need to do to get there. Talk to your family, friends leaders or mentors for ideas on how to achieve what you want. Be sure to layout a strategy, making sure each item is a specific, measurable action with a time constraint to achieve it by.

Even if you are not sure exactly how to best do it, start moving. As you start doing something, the further steps will become easier or the direction will become clearer.

At the gym: “Even if you are slow, you are going faster than the person on the couch”.

Lets get up and make some changes.