You are as old as you feel
All of us have heard before that “Age is just a number”. What does it really mean? We count the number of birthdays someone has celebrated as his/her age. And based on the texture of the skin and color of hair or physical appearance we tag ourselves and others as old, young, or mid-age. When we see someone frail, with white hair and pale looking skin we say that person as an “old man”. And when we see someone with wrinkle-free glowing skin and
black hair, we call that person a young man or woman.
But, have you seen people in their 40s and 50s who have an attitude of a child or a child having the maturity and wisdom of an adult or old man? I definitely have seen such people and I myself in few occasions behaved like a 10-year-old kid. I have found myself losing my temper to my school-going kids without any fault of their and due to my inability to manage and prioritize things. At the same time I have seen kids reacting to situations so calmly that we would expect a a 40-year-old adult to do.
I am sure, you have heard and read about 18 or 20-year-old millionaires. A quick google search will show you many such kids. I sometimes wonder, what do these kids know that I didn’t know when I was of their age. Being an entrepreneur myself, many a time I wonder in awe, the maturity of these kids and their business acumen. The other day while looking for tips on creating a podcast channel on YouTube, I came across a YouTube video by a kid having more than 1 million followers. It was very informational and I ended up creating my Podcast channel.
Some people are early bloomers and identify their talent and become successful very early in their lives and few people are late bloomers and identify their god-given talent at a later part of their lives. Barack Obama became the President of the United States at the age of 47 and finished his career as President at the age of 55 while Joe Biden took the responsibility of the country as the President, at the age of 78.
Harland David Sanders started selling his secret chicken recipe and founded KFC (Kentucky Fried Chicken) at the age of 61 which later on became a multi-billion dollar global brand. In contrast to that, Mark Zuckerburg founded Facebook, the social media and marketing giant, when he was 19 years old, studying at Harvard University. Few people shoot to the limelight very early whereas few others get to the limelight in the latter part of their life. It does not matter where you start. What really matters is where do you finish. What matters is your dream and daringness to pursue it.
Life is a journey, not a destination
In the words of Ralph Waldo Emerson “Life is a journey, not a destination”. We should enjoy the ride in every form, be it smooth or bumpy. But there can’t be a journey without any destination. Similarly, for us to stay young and energetic we need to have a destination, a goal to strive for. It’s not how many birthdays you celebrated in this world which decide whether you are old or young but rather your energy, enthusiasm, and zest for life that decide your youthfulness. I have met very young people who don’t have any desire and ambition in life, who are lazier than a sloth. I have also met people in their 70s and 80s, full of energy, very busy still striving for something bigger in their lives. In the words of Ben Franklin “Some people die at 25 and aren’t buried until 75”. Few people lose all their dreams and aspirations in life at the age of 25. They are just like dead fish floating on the water without any energy. They do the same thing every single day till they die. Most people are so busy making a living that they forget to make a life. I guess life should be adventurous, thrill, and full of fun and excitement. And this keeps you young.
Life is a journey, not a race
Life is not a race where you compete against others. The only person you compete with is yourself. The depth of the wrinkles on your face can’t be the yardstick to measure your age, as you may be 80 years old with the enthusiasm
of a 20-year-old or you could be a 20-year-old without any ambition in life and living a life of desperation and acting as a living dead. It’s time we change our thoughts. All of us are in this world for a certain number of years, months,
and days. Having a worthwhile dream and striving to make yourself better every single moment to realize your dreams, fills you with the energy that we always associate with youth.
You grew old because…
So, the secret to eternal youthfulness is to keep your mind and body young. It’s doing what you did when you were a baby. As a baby every day and every moment when you were awake you learned new things. You learned to talk, eat, walk, play and do everything that you can do now. You were on a mission to learn every moment. You had certain goals in mind to accomplish. You fell several times before you took your first step and started to walk. You dropped your spoon and food several times before you learned to eat. You were goal-driven. You always had a goal in mind, be it to walk or eat or talk. Every moment, you tried to make yourself better. You never compared yourself with others. You were always active, kicking, and playful. You were busy but your parents called you naughty. When anyone came in contact with you, they also felt that energy, playfulness, and joy.
What happened now? Why did you stop learning and playing? You didn’t stop because you grew older, you grew older because you stopped learning and playing. A recent study published by Columbia Universitydone by Cell
Stem Cell suggests that elderly people grow as many brain cells as young, which directly challenges the common belief which we had until now. But researchers have suggested again and again that whatever we don’t use, will be lost. If you stop walking for a year, you may struggle to walk again. If you don’t use your brain or creative imagination, irrespective of your age, you will lose your cognitive abilities. Whatever we use more and do more we will get better at it. Whatever we don’t use, will be lost forever.
It’s very important to keep your body and mind busy so that both your cells in muscle and neurons in the brain are
regenerated every single day. This is the biggest secret of youthfulness.
Finally, you just don’t want to feel and look young you also want to be happy and live a life of significance. And this
comes from social interactions and giving back to the community and society. The most fulfilling experience you will ever have in life is interacting and helping others. Social interaction became quite evident when Covid-19 shut everyone down to the solitude of their homes. A lot of people faced serious mental health challenges. We are all social animals. For a healthy mind, we all need social interactions, be it with family and friends or with your next-door neighbor or the shopkeeper down the road. Thanks to social media, now social interactions could be done online, without even leaving your home. Though social media could never replace the connection and feeling that a face-to-face physical interaction could give, but it allows connecting with unlimited people around the world.
Social media not only helps you to connect with others but also to gather your raving fans. I have seen 5-year-old YouTuber Ryan reviewing toys in his channel and 107-year-old Mastanamma from India sharing her home cooking recipes. You can share anything that you follow or are passionate about. You could write blog posts or share pictures on Instagram or videos on YouTube. This will not only be fulfilling but also beneficial to others and has
a huge opportunity for you to monetize your passion.
So, in conclusion, these are the FOUR L’s which contribute to your eternal youth.
- Labor: It’s the physical activity and exercise you do every day. It
could be exercise, walking, yoga, Zumba, dance, running. It‘s all about flexing
your muscles and joints.
- Learn: Identify your dream and passion. Be a life-long learner. Read
books, watch videos, attend courses and seminars, acquire new skills relating to
your passion. Get the neurons of your brain charged.
- Laugh: Spend time with your family and friends. Get involved in community work. Help others. Give back to society. The word “Happiness” has two Ps which are for “People”. Being with people and caring for people gives you happiness.
- Lead: Share your story and knowledge on social media. Touch people around the world. You will slowly see people following you. You become a leader.
Entrepreneur, Author, Coach