We Control Our Attitudes

“Youth is happy because it has the ability to see beauty. Anyone who keeps the ability to see beauty never grows old.” ~ Franz Kafka … 

“To never grow old…” it is a goal of mine that really is quite simple to accomplish. After all, age is defined more in our attitudes than in our bodies–for even though our bodies grow older physically, we can still remain young in our passion for life. We can find opportunity and take smart risks, and participate in those activities we enjoy and find invigorating. I am therefore a bit baffled that so many adults choose to be old when they have the option to be young at heart instead–to age gracefully and still enjoy life with an appreciation for all the exceptional qualities inherent to it.

There is a friend of mine, who is in his early 30’s, that makes me feel old when I am around him. He is consistently living his life in the past–talking about how great things used to be and how bad things are now. In addition, he often turns down my invitations to go biking, jogging, and sometimes even just to hang out, instead complaining about being too old to do things like that anymore, or too sore. His discontent is evident and at times a bit toxic. I have another friend in his upper 40’s who is the exact opposite. He is extremely active, playing hockey 3-4 times a week. He will jump at the opportunity to enjoy life and will point out the little things that make life beautiful. I feel younger just being around him–as if he radiates energy and life. I am sure he has problems, difficulties, and pains, yet he seldom complains about his lot in life.

I bring up this comparison simply to show you that I believe we control how old we are. We control our attitudes, and for this reason, we have the ability to improve how we see life. We can see it through the eyes of a young heart or through the eyes of an old body, and it would seem much more desirable to me to age gracefully and still see the beauty in this world than to be the old person who has let the world get to them.

Notice the beauty around you today and share it with those you encounter.

Questions to consider:

What traits do you want to hold onto as you age? Why?

What is more important–the number of years that we have lived, or the way we look at the world each day of our lives?

How might we work at keeping our ability to see beauty? What does it mean to you to see beauty?

For further thought:

“The whole of life is a journey toward youthful old age, toward self-contemplation, love, gaiety, and, in a fundamental sense, the most gratifying time of our lives. . . . “Old age” should be a harvest time when the riches of life are reaped and enjoyed, while it continues to be a special period for self-development and expansion.” ~ Ashley Montague

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Filed under Commentary, Food For Thought, Living, Opinion

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