March 22nd is “As Young As You Feel Day”
As a workday begins and thousands of people rush to prepare themselves for work and school; as thousands of bowls of cereal are attacked with thousands of spoons, countless eggs are cooked and coffee or tea is brewed; a couple sits together happily indulging in a nice hot cup of coffee with ice cream. And then they dance.
Ice cream for breakfast may sound like the fantasy of a small child, but this morning ritual is one of the many ways our clients have found to capture joy every single day.
“Youth is not a time of life; it is a state of mind; it is not a matter of rosy cheeks, red lips and supple knees; it is a matter of the will, quality of the imagination, a vigor of the emotions; it is the freshness of the deep springs of life.”
Age can mean a lot of things. Age is a number, age is a feeling, age can apply to the condition of a person, just as easily as it can apply to the length of time a person has existed.
When we are young there is a drama to the idea of aging; we make proclamations about getting “so old”— 30 feels ancient and 40, unfathomable. Between the rush to grow up and the preoccupations of everyday life, we keep finding new and not always interesting ways to make ourselves feel as old as we say we’re becoming.
There is evidence that stress causes a wide range of medical issues, including premature aging. Leaning over our cell phones affects the bones in our spines, resulting in young people with the neck structure of septuagenarians. Long hours sitting at computers has given us slumped shoulders and made us more sedentary than healthy.
March 22nd is As Young As You Feel Day, and perhaps, on such a day, we can learn a lesson from our older clients who have found wonderful, often whimsical, ways to keep themselves feeling young.
“There is a fountain of youth: it is your mind, your talents, the creativity you bring to your life and the lives of people you love. When you learn to tap this source, you will truly have defeated age.”
The secret to feeling young is to find the things you love and keep on incorporating them into your life as much, and for as long, as possible. Below are a few examples of our clients who find happiness in simple things and stay young at heart:
Andrew loved to cook. Once he was in a wheelchair with aides in his home, this 90-year old adapted. He still planned the meals, went shopping with the aide, supervised the flow of activity, and while he could no longer stand, he was still able to sit in his wheelchair at the kitchen table and chop food.
Julia enjoyed birding well into her 80s.
Eva’s bed is raised high enough that she can use her mattress for stability as she practices barre exercises to keep her 89-year-old body limber, drawing on her past career as a dancer. She adores dogs and made a point of getting a big one that needs long walks. She swims regularly, no matter whether she is at home or visiting friends. And she travels.
Susan is still an active artist at 89, going to her studio regularly. When illness diminishes the size of her work, she still paints smaller pieces. Creating art is what she lives for.
Each of these activities reflects the specific interests and abilities of the person involved, celebrating life through the things they love.
What brings you joy? What makes you feel young? Perhaps you can be inspired by our clients to incorporate more of what you love into your everyday life, or perhaps you will be inspired to have some ice cream at breakfast.