How to Make the Fountain of Youth a Reality
Frankly Speaking by Frank Jordan
What We All Seek – Youth
If there is one common objective of every human being on earth it is the seeking of the fountain of youth to stay young. We spend billions of dollars on creams, cures, lifts, tucks, spas and thousands of other products striving to obtain the elusive goal of sustaining youth. While we can deny or temporarily alter the effects of time on these deteriorating human bodies of ours, the undeniable fact is each and every one of us is one day older each day! There are only two kinds of people, “Them that’s old and them’s that’s gonna’ be!” If everything is wearing out, falling out or spreading out and you need WD40 for the body creaks; then maybe aging is upon you!
Now before you get depressed and say all I need in this less-than-perfect day is a reminder of my age, just wait a minute and read on. Admittedly, there are a lot of things about aging that are not fun, but there are some real positives if we look close. Don’t think this is addressed only to a certain age group, because “feeling old” can be a mental attitude of a thirty year old and never occur to someone eighty who is young in heart and spirit.
The good news is there are ways to stay young that affect our total being; not just the physical aspects of our bodies. You must recognize that no one can make you feel old without your consent. The truth is you are as young as your faith, but as old as your doubt; as young as your hope, but as old as your despair. You can judge your present status in aging by placing yourself in the proper category below:
1) You believe in Santa Claus.
2) You don’t believe in Santa Claus.
3) You are Santa Claus.
4) You look like Santa Claus.
As to aging, if your insurance agent sends your calendar one month at a time; restaurants ask you to pay in advance when you order, or you become frightened when you see flowers in bunches; maybe you are! It’s frustrating to want to respect your elders, but you can’t find one! How do we keep our faith and hope and have an attitude of youth? The following five suggestions will help all of us in being young at heart.
Your Mind Is Not Old – Keep Developing It
Amazingly, your brain can record 800 memories per second almost indefinitely without ever getting tired. The average human uses no more than 2% of available brain power (many times much less!) at any given time. The fact is our bodies get tired and fatigued, but our brains do not. How do we develop our brains? Try reading more and watch less television. If two people read the same book, one will ask the other, “What did you think about the book?” If two people watch the same TV show, they ask, “Did you see such and such show last night?” Note the difference?
Study different topics by using a concordance and chain references in your Bible. Read an entire book of the Bible in one sitting (do you begin reading any other book by reading one or two paragraphs in Chapter 8?) and then think for awhile about what you have read and how it applies to your life.
When talking to others, discuss ideas and events more and people less. Listen to a conversation with your friends for content. Analyze your part of the conversation. If almost every word relates to what is happening to you, your family or friends, then your horizons need broadening plus you are boring! Discuss an event, a project or subject of interest and avoid comments on personalities. You may be surprised (or dismayed!) by what your best friend thinks about a subject.
Your Sense of Humor Is Not Gone – Keep Enjoying It
A trap of “feeling old” at any age too often presents a souring and pessimistic outlook on everything and everyone. As we groan and moan with more physical ailments and less ability to do that we once did with ease, it is easy to become cynical and down on the world. Our conception that we have failed in some aspect of our life or have been unjustly wronged must be put aside to begin thinking positively about tomorrow – the first day for the rest of your life!
If you are harboring deep guilt feelings for some reason, forgive yourself. Don’t let your feelings of guilt result in bitterness and the blaming others for your condition or the “why me?” syndrome. This internalized anger or guilt will also without exception damage your health and ability to heal.
Put aside grudges, hate, bitterness and revenge. Forgive and bury these, together with grief and guilt, once and for all because you are poisoning your life and your body with a mental venom that is deadly. Regain your sense of humor about yourself and life. It is an imperfect world with injustices to us all. We have all failed at times and need to receive forgiveness as well as giving forgiveness to others; but we have also all had successes and countless blessings in this life. If you are reading this you aren’t blind and you are breathing, so count your blessings. Don’t just be alive – act alive with a positive attitude and smile!
A special consideration has to be given to relationships with our children as we become older parents and more dependent on our offspring. Face it; all of us who are children have or have had parents and any of us who are parents have had children! Another fact to understand is none of us is either the perfect parent or child. Understanding, compassion and communication are essential to a good relationship.
Learn to say “I’m sorry,” because both children and parents make mistakes, especially at a time of life when each is essential to the other. You never appreciate how precious relationships are until you lose them. Treat parents and grandparents as the treasures they are and enjoy the mutual love that is yours while it is yours to possess. Parents and grandparents, do the same with your children and grandchildren.
Instead of looking again at your sad-self in the mirror tomorrow morning, look out your window and see how you can make your neighbor happy! If you have been challenged by health issues, find a support group with similar issues and become a part of the solution for both yourself and others. A word of encouragement or affirmation with a caring smile will do wonders for anyone any time. Try it and see the results.
Don’t watch the weather and the news for a week. Buy a joke book and tell one, no matter how badly, to someone who needs cheer. If you have put your sense of humor aside, find it and laugh at yourself and others. Stay young with an attitude adjustment. True cosmetic aging surgery is a certain success if you tuck that bitterness behind your ears and uplift your sense of humor to where your frown lines disappear.
Notice how when you are filled with joy and the spirit of laughter, those around you will also be smiling. Proverbs 15:15 tells us, “When a man is gloomy, everything seems to go wrong; when he is cheerful (and full of hope), everything seems right.”
Your Strength is Not Gone; Keep Using It
Keep on being a help to others; in your family, your church, and in your neighborhood, the community and in charities. We may slow down, but we all can be involved to the extent our strength allows, even if only by telephone calls, letters and email to encourage others. Aspire to inspire before you expire. Look around. The Bible gives us our marching orders in Hebrews 12:12:
“So take a new grip with your tired hands, stand firm on your shaky legs, and mark out a straight, smooth path for your feet so that those that follow you, though weak and lame, will not fall and hurt themselves, but become strong.”
Volunteers are needed everywhere to help others. If you don’t get that volunteer position you wanted, take the one you did not want. You may be surprised to find greater rewards in what you stretched a bit to do than in doing the comfortable and familiar.
Spend time with your friends. Do not become a loner. Make friends with all age groups and do not always be in a clique of only a few. Close friends are invaluable, but bring others into that circle and reach out. Don’t judge so quickly and harshly those you do not know well. Join or start a new group with a common interest. Visit another church or take a trip that is not in the ordinary routine. If possible, travel and see other regions and peoples.
Try to maintain an exercise program consistent with your capabilities. We often maintain our cars and our appliances better than our bodies! We must make time while we have time and that time is now. Remember to never tell anyone to take it easy because of their age, particularly a parent or grandparent. Instead, ask them how they do it! Stretch yourself and you will stretch your youth.
Keep Pursuing Your Opportunities
Don’t begin each day with a sigh! Think about what you can pursue. Take a long walk; attend a concert; or visit a friend or relative you have not recently seen (not just when sick please). There are so many lonely lives to touch. Be of service to others and give hope. So often we avoid trying something new because we are afraid we will fail. You can and sometimes will fail, but you must learn to make failure a learning process.
Success is often defined as three steps forward, two steps back. Don’t be the one that always says it cannot be done and is full of negativism. Be a “Doer” not a “Don’ter!” Your attitude is critical to success in whatever you are involved. In Proverbs 18:14 “attitude” is translated as “spirit” as we read, “A man’s spirit can sustain his broken body, but when the spirit dies, what hope is left.”
Babe Ruth is remembered as the greatest home run hitter in baseball with 714 during his career. Few know he also holds the strikeout record with 1,330. When asked the reason for his success Babe Ruth said, “My success was due to the fact I would just keep going up there and keep swinging at them.” Put your failures or disappointments behind you. Forget your strikeouts and just keep swinging.
Keep Seeking Wisdom
Wisdom involves not only knowing what you know, but knowing what you don’t know. In youth we often have knowledge, but lack understanding. Unfortunately, those with knowledge and understanding frequently let the wisdom of how to use knowledge and understanding escape.
Please note that just because one has attained a chronological age, does not mean wisdom has followed. Are you just growing old or are you also growing up? What traits of character and wisdom do you now have that were not there when you were younger? Note being grumpy and impatient are not improvements!
God is alive and with us every minute of every day as our companion through this difficult life. Make your faith a living faith seven days a week; not a religious memory. Know that God is sometimes silent, but never absent and that we must have faith in His ways even though at times they may be mysterious to us. To have faith is to have hope and to know we spend nine months in our mothers preparing to live on earth and then up to 100 years on earth preparing to live for eternity and determining where we will live forever. Personally, I’m not afraid of dying, I just don’t want to be there when it happens!
Share your faith with others and serve Him by serving others in the spirit of Christ and that spirit is love. To be young at any age then is to remember the following:
- Your mind is not old or tired; keep developing it.
- Your sense of humor is not gone; keep enjoying it with others.
- Your strength is not gone; keep using it with purpose.
- Your opportunities have not vanished; keep pursuing them.
- Your wisdom and peace in life are attainable; keep seeking them.
The Fountain of Youth
Frankly speaking, if you will diligently day by day remind yourself of the above, you will not have to find the fountain of youth; the fountain of youth will find you!
Note: Frank and Connie Jordan are the founders of the Hope Inspiration Ministry (HIM) focusing on spiritual health and well-being, with information and guidance at www.hopeinspirationministry.com .