Can You Stay Forever Young?

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I have a birthday coming up soon and I will be turning 57 years old. This is has led me to
think more about what it means to age as a man and what it means to fight against the
ravages of age. A few weeks ago I wrote an article for The Good Men Project with the
title When Does a Man Become an Old Man? I received several comments saying that I
should write an article about how a man can stay young. Here are the 10 tips that I believe
are essential as a man to stay young to matter what age you are.

#1. Passion
It doesn’t matter what it is you’re passionate about, but I think one of the keys of staying
young and having a young spirit is to have passion for something, or better yet, passion for
many things. Far too often I see people who have a job in an industry they have no passion
for, or they’re in a marriage where there is no passion, and sadly have given up the hobbies
that they used to be passionate about. To me, passion lights your life fire and keeps you
young at heart and young in spirit. If you have lost your passions try to reconnect with
them in order to rekindle your fire.

#2. Have goals
Research indicates that less than 3% of the population has clearly articulated goals. To me,
something that keeps you young is to have something to work for and to strive for it,
something to dream about. In the famous book Man’s Search for Meaning, Viktor Frankl
determined that the people who survived the horror of Nazi death camps where the ones
that dreamed of a future and had goals. Take some time this week and sit down with a
piece of paper, a bark and ink, a stone tablet and a chisel, or the back of your hand, and
write down some specific goals for your life both personally and professionally. Believe me,
it helps you get up in the morning when you know where it is you’re going.

#3. Think young
No matter your age you have to stop describing yourself as “being an old man”, and saying
things like “I’m too old for that” or “why would an old man like me do a thing like that?”
Screw that. I was once at a local amusement park and I was walking around looking at all
the rides, deciding which one I was going to ride next. I spotted a couple in their seventies
70’s walking arm in arm in the park. The husband looked alive with wonder with a young
spark in his eye. He pointed to a large roller coaster and said to his wife, “Hey I got an ideawhy
don’t we go ride that!” She turned to him with a scowl and said, “You old fool you
know we are too old to ride that, do you want to hurt your back again? Would that make
you happy to hurt your back? Well it would it?” The husband suddenly looked much older
and said, “Yes I guess you’re right” and walked away with slumped shoulders, looking like
the air had been taken out of the sails. You’re not old until you decide that you are.

#4. Age is just a number, after all
The number only matters to you and the people who love you, and the main thing about
your age is it should not define you. A few years ago I met a gentleman at a business
meeting named Oliver. He was about my age and was in phenomenal shape. When I asked
Oliver how he came to be so fit, he told me that he ran extreme marathons. When I asked
him what that meant, he told me that he was a competitive runner in races that were one
hundred miles. He then smiled and said, “Of course those miles are all run at once.” I asked
how long it took to run one hundred miles, and he smiled again and said it depends on the
weather conditions and the terrain. But here was a guy 52 years old who is running one
hundred miles at a time. He told me that his goal was to run in and win his age category by
the time he was sixty. I was astonished to learn that sixty-year-olds run 100 miles, He then
told me that there also a category for seventy and eighty year-olds. So I guess that is proof
positive that age is just a number.

#5. Surround yourself with supportive and loving people
As a professional speaker, I often talk about one of the keys of getting and staying
motivated; and that is to determine the type of people that you’re going to associate with —
positive upbeat supportive people, or negative toxic energy draining people, whom I refer
to as energy sucking vampires. If you want to live a long healthy life and to feel young, the
key is to surround yourself with people who have a similar attitude because their
enthusiasm is contagious. Every one of us have had the experience of meeting somebody
who’s high-energy upbeat positive and optimistic and felt more energetic when we walked
away after having a discussion with them. That is one of the main reasons why I married
my wife Rachael because she is the role model of this kind of person.

#6. Keep learning
As Henry Ford once said, “Anyone who stops learning is old whether at twenty or eighty.
Anyone who keeps learning stays young. The greatest thing in life is to keep your mind
young.”

To me, one of the keys of staying young is to keep learning. Whether this is through reading
books, reading great articles on The Good Men Project, taking an e-learning course online,
or learning how to dance the flamenco. The choice is yours; the key is to not become
stagnant and to continuously learn new things personally and professionally. It is the spark
that keeps the fire going if you have become stagnant make a commitment to learn
something new in the next two weeks.

#7. Exercise
I’m sure you saw this piece of advice coming, but in order to stay young, you need to
exercise on a regular and consistent basis. However, I’m not suggesting that you go to the
gym and do exercise that bores you to tears, I’m suggesting that you find exercise that you
have a passion for that you enjoy and that you want to do. Find exercise that feels like a
reward and does not feel like punishment you will want to do it more and it will energize
and make you feel young.

#8. Embrace the love
Sophia Loren once said, “There is a fountain of youth that is your mind, your talents, and
creativity that you bring to your life and the lives of the people you love. When you learn to
tap the source you have truly defeated age.”
It sometimes makes me sad to see couples who have somehow lost the spark of love in
their relationships, to me they look heartbroken. If this is you, then make every effort to
reignite the love that you once had, because to me love is the fuel for staying feeling young.
People that are in love are young at heart, young of mind and young in spirit. Love your
wife or husband, love your children love your friends and love people. When you embrace
love and give love, you will truly discover the fountain of youth.

#9- Keep up with your health
Make sure to go to your doctors and your dentist for regular checkups and maintenance,
because they can truly help you live a long healthy and happy life relatively free of disease.
Far too often, we see people who do not go to the doctor and end up with major health
issues that cannot be solved because it is too late. A classic car only runs with constant
upkeep and maintenance. Aren’t you a classic?

#10. Embrace the joy
Take sometime in the next few weeks to sit down and make a list of all the things that bring
you joy. I refer to this as “the joy list”. What is the joy list? It is simply a list of things that
when you do them, bring you total joy. It may be going to church, it may be hiking on a
mountain trail, it may be going to the symphony, or collecting stamps. There is no right or
wrong answer; the only qualification is it has to make you feel joyful and when you are
doing these activities time flies and you are reenergized. What I find ironic is when I talk to
people about the joy list, most people tell me that these are things that they’ve given up
doing because they were too busy. Doing things that embrace joy will fill your youthful
spirit tank.

If you want to live young, act young, and feel young, and have a life filled with passion, joy,
and energy, the rest is up to you. I know I can take the horse to water but I can’t make him
drink it. I can tell you this is one cool water that will truly change your life if you embrace it.

This article originally appeared in The Good Men Project.
Follow Shawn Doyle on Twitter: www.twitter.com/Motiv8er

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