Don’t want to grow old? Then stay youthful!

Some people were born old. The kids who were always afraid of the consequences of absolutely anything were born old. Those who wouldn’t take part in a snowball fight were, too. And then there were the ones who copied the way real old people talked – using the lexicon of the preceding generation and the one before it, and adopting their ‘fashion’, too. As these people get older, they seem to get closer to their ‘true’ age. You can just imagine some of them, a few years from retirement, puffing away on their tobacco pipes, blowing into their handkerchiefs and checking their pocket-watches, feeling that they have finally achieved the prime of their life, perhaps now a century too late, but they made it anyway.

On the other hand, there are the Peter Pans, those who just don’t grow up. As juveniles, they are often quite giddy, excitable and difficult to control. This is usually just put down to their youth and dismissed as ‘a phase’ or something that will pass. They carry on through their teens and into their early twenties and people start to suspect they might be late maturers. They get regular jobs which they absolutely can’t stand due to the rigidity and monotony of the modern job. If they’re lucky, they find a way to carve a niche out for themselves, in which they can make money doing something they don’t hate. Some are financial disasters – spending all their money on whims and fads, without saving a penny for the future. They go through many relationships and often find themselves poor and single when they reach their fifties. They still want to live a party lifestyle but their body is starting to get its revenge. They resent growing physically old and often become addicted to alcohol or drugs, or become depressed or suicidal.

Then there’s the rest of us. We don’t want to grow old, but we don’t want to live like children again. We see people a few years older than us, some looking like they are about to buzz the heavenly intercom, but some looking twenty or thirty years younger, fit as a butcher’s dog, full of energy and laughter and with lots of interesting stories and plans. We decide we want to be more like them, but how?

It’s easy to get set into a daily routine which doesn’t change year after year. We get up, take the kids to school, go to work, get home, eat, get the kids to bed, sleep and repeat. And by doing this over and over, we get old and boring without realizing it. The good news is that it’s quite easy to break the mold, too. Just like throwing a great big, sturdy spanner into the workings of an old engine, you can mix everything up by changing one thing.

Taking up an active hobby is a great idea – playing tennis or taking up cycling are great ways to get outside, enjoy the beauty of your surroundings and feel the benefit of physical exercise. Of these two examples, tennis is the more likely to have a greater effect on your lifestyle and youthfulness. This is down to the social element of tennis – simply by turning up to play one match, the chances of you making plans to take part in another match increase to make it a near certainty. Cycling is less social and sometimes solitary, and so you have to find other ways to integrate it into your life. You could look at different types of bikes to get the whole family involved –check out – and dedicate one of the weekend days to family cycling trips. Alternatively, if your family members just aren’t interested in cycling (perhaps they’re the naturally old types), you could decide that from now on, you’re going to cycle to and from work.

Better still, quit your job and start to do something you love for a living. If it turns out that your passion is cycling, for example, start a cycling tour group for tourists or children. You’ll make your money by exploring the countryside around you and sharing the experience with other people. And if that doesn’t keep you youthful, then there’s no hope.

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