(The following excerpt from Forever Young: 5 Ways To Stay Young At Heart, No Matter How Old You Are by Maxann Keller recently appeared on elite daily.com. To view it in its entirety click on the link below.)
Captain Hook may have said it best: Growing up is such a barbarous business.
Although the fictitious villain is less than lovable, he sure is on to something. As we grow, we begin to understand the significance of our grandparents’ favorite adage, “When I was your age,” all the while, losing track of time as it swiftly passes us by in the blink of an eye.
Time is an unforgiving force that rushes us into the next stages of life without permission. With age, we must mature into adults who maintain sanity while juggling to-do lists as long at the Nile. But, who says that getting older means straying away from a youthful heart?
Perhaps the greatest lesson to learn is that growing older doesn’t mandate growing up. Check out the following five rules to remain young at heart, no matter how old you become:
1. Do something that scares you every day.
Famously said by Eleanor Roosevelt, this first life mantra serves as an excellent reminder of how to stay young at heart and take on the world with an unbridled and maturing perspective.
Go skydiving, call an old friend you haven’t spoken to in many years past or find a pen pal. Doing little things to force ourselves out of our comfort zones will remind us of the times when we were constantly learning and each new experience was a scary new adventure in our lives.
Taking a leap of faith to try something new keeps us curious and learning.
2. Forget about acting your age and just act yourself.
Too many people pass up opportunities to have their favorite ice cream cone or swing on the swings in the park on a gorgeous day because they don’t think it’s how an adult should act.
Then, they round the corner to go home with their heartstrings pulling them back to the park for a small ounce of carefree fun. Stop placing limitations on your heart’s desires simply because of the number of years you have accumulated.
The voice in your head that tells you you’re too old to build a snowman when the snowflakes are falling is only relaying the tired message of socialized, ageist expectations. When you want to dive into your heart’s youthful craving, forget about acting your age and just act yourself.
3. Never stop wishfully thinking. Whether you wish upon a star or trust in the act of miracles, never stop believing that your wildest dreams are within reach.
In a world where too many aspirations are stifled by naysayers and reality junkies, wishful thinking has earned a downright negative reputation. However, the fact remains that wishful thinkers are the ones who step outside of the confines of normalcy and turn ordinary ideas into extraordinary things.
Young hearts thrive on possibilities and only if we continuously wish for things that are bigger and better with each passing day will we be able to feed our souls with the excitement of greater opportunities to come.
4. Forget the opinions outside your own.
Think back to your days as a carefree kid and the joy you experienced as you painted messy squiggles with your fingers. There’s a good chance you chose these forms of expression solely for the joy it allowed you to experience without the consent of your guardian!
The minute we allow outside opinions to tell us what we should and should not do, we lose the ability to recognize our instincts; we lose our intuition that allows us to seek elation.
As we grow older, the simple joys of life get attacked when society tells us that we are above the age of delighting in innocence. While we can’t always avoid others’ opinions, we can choose to not accept them.
5. Surround yourself with people like you.
Those who are capable of staying young at heart are of a rare breed. As rare as they are, they are out there and they thrive in groups of positive, like-minded individuals.
Think about your days on the playground and the joy you felt when you played with a group of equally imaginative friends. Find your soul mates by doing the things you love and doing them as often as possible.
Exhibit the joy of a youthful existence with others and watch as your circle of friends grows. A youthful heart is contagious and anyone who is smart enough to let it in won’t let it go.
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