I am turning 28 in December, leaving 30 only 2 short years away.
When we’re young, all we want to do is grow up. When we ‘re old, we realize how good we had it when we were young. So we look for answers to stay young, often found in immature actions and behaviors and physically modifying our appearance in unnatural ways. Keeping a hold of our youth has nothing to do with not caring about anything, disrespecting authority, YOLO, or dropping individual responsibility. If that’s your view of being young, then you are mistaking it for being immature. Maturity is important. Being forever young involves a deep participation with the world around us and valuing every interaction we have.
When you “get old”, you trade in your hobbies for lounging and watching TV after coming home from a job you hate. Even if you hate your job, you can keep your youth (not everyone liked going to school, right?). Staying young requires keeping your health, both physically and mentally. Here are some ways that I am making sure I never get old.
Tips for PHYSICALLY staying young
Do not be confined by walls! As kids, we ached to get outside of the house. We weren’t afraid of the elements (Who can remember getting yelled at constantly for not wearing a coat?). The new generation of kids are losing this, resorting to a life of video games and internet usage. This is causing them to get older at a faster rate. Getting outside lets you breathe in natural air and boosts your Vitamin D levels. It will also help you with the next tip...
Do not be confined by furniture! There is so much talk about getting a certain amount of exercise per day and making sure you “do your cardio.” But let’s be realistic, becoming unhealthy is quite often connected with a sedentary lifestyle. Most of our jobs involve long periods of sitting, which lead to our leisure time which involves even more sitting. This leads to loss of strength and loss of mobility, which leads to aches and pains, which leads to more sitting. So take advantage of the time you have to participate in an active life. The more you do, the more you will be able to do.
Eat what you were meant to eat
Most children are raised on mac n’ cheese, Gushers, and Kool Aid. We were not made to eat this stuff. We were made to eat food that comes from our world (i.e. veggies, fruits, and meats). If it comes from a factory, don’t eat it (including meat! The more wild, the better). Most of our pain we gain as we age can be attributed to our diet. One small change, simply avoiding grain products, for example, can give our bodies a boost.
Staying young is most commonly associated with physical appearance. Maintaining a youthful appearance requires muscle growth and maintenance. Also, muscle will help you stay active. And eating what you’re supposed to eat will help you build muscle. It’s all connected!
Sleep at night, live during the day
Sleep is optimal for physical recovery. The normal recommendation for sleep is somewhere between 7-9 hours per night. I don’t think that anyone would dispute this. Some people can survive on less, some people might desire more. Usually, more than 10 hours of sleep results in feeling lethargic, which would limit your activity during the day. A lack of sleep will, on the other hand, help you maintain stress, become moody, and give the aging process a boost.
Tips for MENTALLY staying young
You don’t need to make an imaginary friend or build a fort (side note - if you do build a fort, please invite me to come play), but don’t get stuck in the same routine of “I hate getting out of bed” followed by “I hate my job” followed by “There’s nothing good on TV”. Be creative with your activities. Maybe sit down and write. Perhaps engage in a water balloon fight. Discuss new ideas instead of discussing rumors about co-workers or other people you know that you are jealous of. Don’t let your mind get old.
Respect other people
By respecting people, you automatically become one of the popular kids that everyone loves. You also set yourself up for great relationships and unknown opportunities. Never close the doors that you did not know existed because you treat people disrespectfully. Rebellion is cool when you are immature, respect is respected when you are mature.
Learn, and learn again
Don’t go to school (unless you want to), but learn. Learn about something you love. Learn about things you are curious about. Just as we need our muscles to help us remain active, we need our brain to continue to develop so we can maintain our creativity and social interactions. Shoot, learn about building a fort. Then invite me over to play.
Do what you love
We were never too tired to hit up the big toy on recess. When you get a break from your busy life, do what you love to do. Even if your passion seems like a meaningless hobby, the fact is that it is meaningful to your happiness and satisfaction as a person.
Sleep at night, live during the day (most of the time)
Please do not sleep in until the PM. Get up in the morning and set the tone for your day. This requires going to bed before midnight. Now, there are exceptions. There are some occasions where staying up late is necessary. It should not be your ritual, though. Start your day off in the morning by being active, reading, or engaging socially.
There you have it, a cheat sheet for staying young. Youth is not defined by acting reckless and destroying your body. Nor by listening to Wiz Khalifa and wearing skinny jeans. Your appearance might have something to do with your age, but nothing to do with youth. Once we settle for a life that has been created for us and not by us, we surrender our youth. By actively engaging in life and continuously seeking development both physically and mentally, we will sustain our youth well beyond our teens, 20’s, and 50’s. Grow up, but stay young.