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Sunday, November 04, 2007

I'm Possible

If we are very lucky, and with the grace afforded to us by whatever we choose to believe in, we will grow old. However, I notice constantly that in our modern society this slow march towards our vintage years is also tinged with fear.

As unique as we are, all human beings still have much in common. Not just in aims and objectives, but at an emotional level we are more alike than we think.

At this stage of living, anyone who reaches 60 may feel they have already boarded the bus to the valley of death, and yet in youth we may think that being dead might just be preferable to being a wrinkly pensioner. Even though we constantly try to shield ourselves from the fact, we are all issued at birth with that one-way ticket, and we merely kid ourselves that somehow the ageing process will never happen to us.

But it will. So, what is the secret of youth?

Simply put, the secret of staying young is to think young.

How to Think Young

Simply striving to look young will not stave off the ageing process; we need to think young. I am not suggesting that we should not give in to being old in appearance - unless it makes us feel better to have a more youthful appearance - I am simply stating that we should not let ourselves become mentally stale as we age. We should strive to keep our curiosity for learning alive, and not fall into the tendency to look backwards rather than forwards, just because we think that the future only holds further fears for us.

There are three keys to thinking young.

Key 1: Cleaning Out

We probably spend more time in the restroom in our entire life than we probably realise. Everyone does it. It is natural. Our bodies need to release the pollution inside. Do we know, however, that our mind needs the same attention as our bodies? Our mind is the real heart of our most precious house.

When is that last time you released the pollution from your mind?

To release the contaminants collected, we need to flush the mind out daily, too. Making use of our private time, we need to become aware of ourselves and the moment and use this everyday meditation to release the bad and accept the good. Our minds will feel better. It will even make our bodies feel lighter, ready to receive the world again.

Our minds need to be cleansed like our bodies, in order to receive the world unfiltered and to kick out stress. We realise that this is a natural part of our lives. It is a continuous cycle of toil, soil, and cleansing.

Key 2: Looking Forward

The second key to this is never to lose the ability to look forward. Nostalgia can be useful, but it can be a dangerous mental trap to fall into. If you constantly look behind, you get left behind. Growing old should not be served like a sentence waiting to end, it should mean that we will care much less about what others think of us as we'll have developed a vast knowledge of experiences (this is when that nostalgia will come in handy) that buttress us in times of need. As we age, more and more as those younger lose theirs, we'll be keeping our heads - or losing it more gracefully!

Just because we will get old, it doesn't mean we can't have fun. Life should be fun. Composed of the unforgettable people and times we will know, some for life, some for a few moments, we will create a landscape so diverse and stunning, that the journey will be breathtaking. It will make the travel worthwhile.

The difficult times will not just makes us stronger and wiser, they will be markers in our lives that we will use to keep track of the journey back to the core of us, like in the tale of Hansel and Gretel laying out breadcrumbs to show them the way home.

The most beautiful thing as we pick up each marker in retrospect will be to realise that at every hurdle someone - even if its just you - or something turned up to make the situation better. The beauty of life should be that we will be able to say even with all its setbacks it is a life we would live again.

Ultimately, we will realise that our own journey is at once local and universal, one that recreates, as if by chance, much older journeys taken time and time before, trials of humanity, pilgrim paths, filling out our shared human history.

In constantly looking forward mentally, we will realise that in fact there is nothing to fear after all.

Key 3: I'm Possible

The last key involves keeping the courage of youth alive inside of us by the way we communicate with ourselves and others.

As people communicating through actions, speech and writing, these thoughts, ideas and perceptions are interpreted through sensory receptors and then expressed through symbolic representations called words. Words are then placed upon substance, but should not be mistaken as substance themselves. Age is just a word. It is we that give it substance. So too is old. It is we that are the important factor in the word, not the word per se.

Impossible is another word that we frequently begin to believe in as we get older. Yet, the young constantly challenge the veracity of that word and turn the impossible into I'm possible.

As the world is in a constant state of change, the meanings of words may also change to recapture and reflect this, and being members of this setting and contributing to its flavour, we are also in this constant state of change. This is why throughout every stage of our lives we should see constant development and change as natural - it should not merely be the buttress of youth that emboldens us to seize our day.

In conclusion, the secret of youth is one we don't need to forget as we get older; it is by employing just three steps to think young that we'll stay young. We must always search for the courage to seize the day, and make those moments ones to help us remember that there is no such thing as the impossible, only the I'm possible.

My Life Handbook: Epilogue: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6

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