A few days ago I was talking to a colleague. He mentioned that in a recent jury duty stint that there weren’t many young people. He looked at me and said “there were a few people around my age (he is in his mid 60s) and several people around your age, 35 or so.”
Photo By Dennis Hill via StockPholio.com
The Funny Thing Is…
I smiled at my colleague, then he thought for a second, “Wait, you can’t be 35, you told me you have a son getting married.” (Full disclosure, I’ll be 46 later this year.) Now, I certainly like this person more than before! But the truth is Sally and I get this all the time. People are frequently surprised to find out we have adult children. Like my colleague they look at our appearance, behaviors and activities and make an assumption about our age, generally 10 or more years younger than where we are biologically.
You’re How Old??
There is a common cliché, “you are as old as you feel”. It contains some truth but doesn’t really flesh out what makes you “feel” old or young. I have some friends who are many years younger than me…but a stranger would judge them to be in their late 50s or early 60s. On the other side I have a friend I attended college with who still looks exactly the as he did more than two decades ago. Personally except for one or two small things I behave and feel WAY younger than 45. So the question is, what does it take to look and more importantly FEEL younger?
It’s Not One Thing
There are many advertisements for pills, creams, diets and such that make promises to turn back the clock. In truth diet and some products can help the process, but there is no one magic bullet to make you feel and look 10 or even 20 years younger. There are several considerations that can affect the age you look and feel.
I’m going to break these into three basic categories: habits, behaviors and attitudes. Each category contributes to looking and feeling younger. Some may seem silly, but from personal experience they all make a significant contribution.
Let’s start with the obvious. If a person eats nothing but garbage then they will look and feel like someone who eats only garbage. Low energy, chronic diseases (diabetes, cardiac problems, stroke, etc.) follow those who have this type of diet. The effect will be to age a person considerably. Smoking, excessive alcohol consumption and the like cause similar issues. Cleaning up your diet will make the single biggest impact on how your body feels. Note I don’t mean you have to go all “eat clean” for every meal. We still have pizza, burgers and the like. But most of our meals and snacks are healthy. We use nutritious shakes, but you can accomplish the same results by taking on a proper diet of healthy foods. I’m just too lazy and cheap to buy and make it all. We also use some great supplements with powerful health benefits.
You don’t want to feel like those you consider to be “old people”? Then don’t do what “old people” do. Do things that “young people” do. I know a gentleman who goes to the gym all the time, he is in his mid 80s…and working out with the best of them. My wife is in a class at the gym called “Fit for 50”. It’s designed for people 50 and over. She doesn’t meet the age suggestion but goes because it works in her schedule. However most of the other people are WELL over 50. Guess what…they aren’t doing what “old people” do. The are exercising their bodies, strengthening their hearts and building muscle. They are pushing their bodies to expand their physical capabilities. “Old people” don’t do such things. They sit around watching soap operas, reality TV, game shows and such while complaining about their sore joints, chronic diseases and failing organs. To summarize: if you want your body to feel younger then you have treat it like it is younger.
Some behaviors to keep you young aren’t necessarily about exercise. At times our boys come back home and Sally and I play video games with them, the interaction is fun and stimulating. When we visit family in Michigan we play board games, but not like “old people”, we stay up until 2 or 3 am laughing and having a great time. We also get out on the water and ride jet skis. This May we are going to an event in Tennessee to improve our marriage coaching skills. I hear there is a zipline on the property. You know I’m going to get on it! “Old people” would not do so. Keeping young requires behaviors that stimulate your zest for life!
I read books and blog posts a lot. I listen to podcasts. I don’t watch the news or regularly read newspapers. I fill my thoughts with positive and life affirming input. What I read and listen to encourages me to keep growing my mind. They push me to expand what I believe I can do with my life. They encourage me to find more and better ways to help others. They draw me closer to God. I’m going to tell you something you’ll never see on a 24 hour news station. Frequent input of negative news will age you. What you put in your mind is not neutral. It will either drag you down or fill you with renewed vigor. If you want to look and feel young then put things in your mind that will give you hope, vision and excitement!
You get to decide how young you feel. To a degree you can affect how old you look. Both require modifications to your habits, behaviors and attitudes. Age is not about a number of years. It is about health of mind, body and spirit. So go for a walk or run. Jump on a bike or go for a swim. Call up some friends and play games late into the night. Then in the morning read your Bible and another uplifting book. On your drive listen to some great positive content. How you live your life will determine how you feel. Positive physical, mental and spiritual actions will lead to more vigorous physical, mental and spiritual results.
You can do it!