Even before Ponce de Leon spent his years searching Florida for the illusive fountain of youth, men and women have searched for ways to look and feel younger, and to keep from getting old. Promises of a return of vital strength, of younger looking brighter skin, or of reversing the aging process are almost guaranteed to sell nutritional supplements, beauty products, or health services.
Some would say our media-saturated culture glorifies youth at the expense of maturity. But might not those media messages be the result a deep-seated value system that we all share? We grasp at the raw strength, physical beauty, mental agility, and passion of youth. Most of us recognize that with maturity often comes wisdom, but we long for the freshness of youth.
Something in our soul understands that getting old, weak, and dependent is not our original destiny. Deep inside we sense that 70, 80, or even 90 years is not long enough. Many seniors learn to face their shortening future on this earth with wisdom and calm, but there’s something about getting older that we shrink from.
As the American poet Dylan Thomas wrote,Do not go gentle into that good night, Old age should burn and rave at close of day; Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
There are many things you and I can do to stay younger longer. I’ve written about several of them here. Healthy lifestyle habits make an enormous difference in both the quantity and the quality of the years remaining in your life. Nurturing close relationships, staying physically and mentally active, and learning healthy ways to deal with stress help keep us strong. Pursuing a life purpose gives you and me a reason to keep on living. And all that is good.
But let us also remember that we were not meant for only 70 years on this finite planet. We were meant for eternity. Our bodies and minds were not meant to grow old and die. The purpose of our creation is much greater than any of us can accomplish in the few years we have on this earth.
So when you sense that raging in your soul against the downsides of growing older, remember that God made you for more than these few years. He holds your life – both on this earth and for eternity – in His capable hands. And you can rest there, knowing that all is well.
P.S. One significant fear among those growing older is dementia, or Alzheimer’s disease specifically. The Alzheimer’s Association offers this list of 10 warning signs to help distinguish Alzheimer’s from normal signs of aging. We promised this reference on the program.
Your Turn: What bothers you most about getting older? Are you doing anything to stay younger longer? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.
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