A friend of mine recently celebrated a birthday.
I asked him how he was getting on in life at this prime age.
He told me that although he is getting closer and closer to 50, he still feels like he is a kid. “It’s strange,” he said. “I always thought that once you were 40, you were ‘over the hill’. Now I realize that whether you’re over the hill or not depends on whether you still feel like climbing.”
Hearing him talk about his life like that awakened a voice in my mind that took me back to my college years, when in youthful idealism, I thought rich people were evil, a shirt and tie were prison clothes, and life without freedom . . . was not a good life at all. . . i’ve traded lots of my youthful dreams for a bigger pay check, and I never even realised I was doing it.
Living is not easy. Familiarity breeds contempt, the saying goes, and as life continues with the same daily routine and grind, our lives can easily lose the traits of enthusiasm and passion. Anything that we do constantly and routinely fails to carry a natural new freshness.
Life teaches us that in order to maintain enthusiasm you have to constantly re-inspire yourself with all your energy. Passion will not happen by itself. There must be a daily, continuous, concerted, and energetic effort to nurture your idealism.
One way of accomplishing this is to live like a child.
Just as a child constantly looks for new challenges and frontiers to conquer, so too must we.
Have you ever seen the way an infant makes everything exciting? Whether it’s a pot and pan, a piece of paper to crumple and suck on, or an open refrigerator, a baby makes everything look exciting and fun.
Children have a way of always occupying themselves with something that interests them. We have to begin looking at things in our lives with the same youthful passion. We can’t allow ourselves to get caught up in the ‘rat race’ and lose our ideals and passions.
We have to ask ourselves on a continuous basis: If I didn’t know how old I was, how old would I be? That’s how we stay young.
Not by focusing on the fact that we are ‘old’, but on what challenges we still need to overcome, what areas of life we still need to conquer.
We can’t let the fact that we have had many yesterdays dampen our todays and tomorrows.
As long as we give our hearts messages of beauty, hope, joy, courage and strength, we will remain forever young.