Recently I was Coaching an awesome friend over lunch about some depression she was experiencing. After I heard her say for the third time: “I’m too old for that …” I asked her where on earth that was coming from. Particularly since she is younger than me!
She began to recite her list of expectations regarding at what age you are supposed to comply to certain “rules.” We both laughed in amazement as she poured them out. We all have the “rule book”. Although they may differ (because our sources had different ideas about the rules), we all have them.
When we say them out loud, they are often humorous. Yet they run inside us, like an operating system on a computer, and we struggle with them, even if they are outside our awareness.
She came to a conclusion as we laughed: “No wonder I’m struggling with some depression! I feel old because of the ‘rules’ I’m following, and I don’t even like them!” So t is with all of us. Throw the rulebook out and write your own rules!
As I’ve worked with people through the years, I’ve found some 27 year olds that are “old”, and I’ve found some 77 year olds that are “young.” Of course there are many external things that “date” us. How we style our hair, the clothing choices we make, the way we carry ourselves when we walk.
However I find three internal states that keep us young, regardless of our age:
1. Believing in “magical moments.“?When we believe and expect for exciting things to happen, it keeps us young. Cynicism makes us “old”, no matter our chronological age. I truly do believe in magical moments. I had one just recently when a friend and I were walking in a shopping area, and we saw a horse and carriage pull around the parking lot. With no discussion, we glanced at one another with glee and ran toward the carriage to embrace the “magical moment.” A delightful ride around a new shopping village!
2. Seeking adventure.?When we have a love for adventure, it keeps us young! Adventure may change as we age, but it can still be alive and well within. Perhaps you don’t care to ride roller coasters anymore, but don’t let the adventure seeker in you die! Recently I was on a jog in a nature preserve, and it was the first day of really hot weather in the spring. I found myself overdressed for the day, and I knew there was a creek at the end of the preserve. Sure enough, it was babbling, and I adventured into the cool water, clothing and all (no, I wasn’t adventurous enough to skinny dip!). How refreshing, how fun!
3. Engaging in fun and recreation.?The word “re-creation” means restoration to health, to refresh or restore. The word “recreation” says it all. Often when I go for a walk or a run, I triple step to music. Looks like a dance walk. I do it in the gym between machines. Why? First of all, you get three steps for every one step if you are just walking, and my Fitbit LOVES that! But mostly because I LOVE to dance. With my “injured wing” I can’t do much dancing right now, so I dance along as I get exercise. I ALWAYS feel refreshed, restored, re-created!
Whatever your rule book says about what you are supposed to do, say or how you should act at your age…throw it out the window. Determine you WILL stay YOUNG! You may even see some depression disappear as you BELIEVE, SEEK and ENGAGE!