Fountain of Youth

I have always emphatically believed that when you are young … you really don’t appreciate it.

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Does anyone else remember the song that asserts, “Fairytales can come true … they can happen to you when you’re young at heart!”?

I’ve always loved that melody and the lyric of that tune.

It seems to me that everyone would like to stay “young at heart”.

Do you remember, in about the fifth grade, studying Ponce de Leon and his quest for the “Fountain of Youth

I have often found myself on that same quest that Ponce de Leon so bravely began. As I have trudged along, in search of yesterday, I have asked myself these torturous questions …

Is there a fountain of youth?

Where is it?

Can I get to it from here?

And if I somehow … miraculously happen upon it … does it actually work?!!

One of my favorite songs from decades ago is sung by Old Blue Eyes himself … the talented Frank Sinatra … who was known for having a “velvet voice”:

“You make me feel so young
You make me feel so Spring has sprung
And every time I see you grin
I’m such a happy individual”

What is it about being young … staying young … feeling young … that so enamors us even as we continue to age?

I have always emphatically believed that when you are young … you really don’t appreciate it.

You don’t appreciate it at all.

You don’t appreciate the fact that you can eat lots of carbs and your stomach still stays flat.

You are not grateful for the fact that you can actually see the fine print on a document and then read it without having a massive magnifying glass in your hands.

You are unaware of the fact that once you hit about 45 … you will never again sit on the floor and be able to stand up in a gracious manner.

You are completely blind to the wonder of running up and down stairs without having to balance yourself with the handrail.

As the playwright, George Bernard Shaw, so wryly commented, “Youth is wasted on the young!”

However … here we all are … wherever we are … on the continuum of aging.

If you are a teenager or are in your 20’s reading this blog … just trust me. You will feel this way someday in the not-too-distant future … so read on and learn with your heart not just with your head.

Some of you reading this are in your 30’s … and you might already feel that you’re over that infamous hill. But you are not over the hill … you don’t even know the magnitude of the hill. That darn hill.

If you are in your 40’s … and are piqued by this topic … you know that you are just beginning to get a handle on the topic of aging yet staying young amidst the gray hairs growing …the joints beginning to ache … and those cheeky teenagers rolling their eyes at you.

If you are in your 50’syou know that the aging process is inevitable but you are hoping to live for decades beyond the half-century mark.

If you are in your 60’s … as I am … you definitely know that more of life is behind you than in front of you and you wonder if you have enthusiastically lived the life for which you were created. You wonder.

And if you are in your 70’s or 80’s … well … let’s just say … that you are the well-seasoned version of all that was meant to be “you”.

I have yet another birthday approaching on the horizon of my quickly moving life. This particular birthday has caused me to ponder what it takes to stay young while the years continue to swiftly fly.

I have asked others … read articles … listened in on conversations … and even prayed about what I could possibly do in order to ensure that I stay as young as possible for as long as possible.

This is my list … I hope that you will come up with your list as well.

I call this list, “Carol’s Fountain of Youth”.

Surround yourself with beauty. Beautiful music … lovely flowers … long walks in every season of the year. Incorporate beauty into your life just as you do with vitamins and with plenty of sleep. Decorate for the holidays even if you are all alone. Don’t just throw food on the plate but arrange it in an artful and whimsical manner. Cultivate beauty and your soul will stay young and vibrant!

“In the central place of every heart, there is a recording chamber; so long as it receives messages of beauty, hope, cheer, and courage, you are young.” – Ullman

Keep learning. Keep reading. As long as you are breathing, there is something new that you can learn. Read books … instigate stimulating conversations … listen to the opinions of others … watch documentaries… ask riveting questions of others. Attempt new crafts and hobbies. Tackle the basics of a new language. Cook new foods. Travel to places you have never been.

“Anyone who keeps learning stays young. The greatest thing in life is to keep your mind young.” – Henry Ford

Exercise every day for as long as you possibly can. I believe that if you can keep your joints active, your mind will follow. Lift your arms above your head 20 times today … go for a brisk walk around the block … do a sit-up or two if you can … squat by the bed and then stand up. Lift a baby … take the trash out … join the gym. Don’t sacrifice your body on the altar of old age … but as long as it is humanly possible … move a muscle and lift a finger!

Keep a song in your heart. Music keeps the soul oh! So young! Sing while you do the dishes and play worship music while you are in the shower. Listen to the great hymns of faith when you are folding laundry and enjoy the pop tunes of your youth when you go for your daily walk. A soul that is filled with music will embrace the eternal essence of all that is fresh, new, and alive!

Encourage someone. Don’t allow the latter years of your life just to be about you. Find someone who needs hope and give them some of yours! Attach yourself to a despondent human being and make it your personal assignment to inject some of your joy into their pain. Write notes to the younger generation … call your friends and family members … send an e-mail or two every day just to let someone know that their life matters. It matters to you and it matters to God!

Laugh. Giggle. One of the very best parts of being young is having the capacity to chuckle on the spur of the moment. Buy a joke book and read one a day! Call a friend and remind this person of a humorous event that you shared. Watch comedies on TV. Hang out with people who instantly make you smile.

“A joyful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit dries up the bones.” – Proverbs 17:22

Don’t forget to play. Try to do something fun every single day. Your idea of “fun” might be different than “mine” but you do you. Dig deeply into the soil of your garden if you deem that activity as fun. Play tennis. Go to the movies. Make cookies. Go out for lunch with a friend.

“It’s not how old you are but how you are old.” – Dressler

Eat healthy. Watch your calorie intake and make sure that you are eating fresh fruits, vegetables, and healthy proteins every day. Every system in your body will thank you. Keep the sweets, fats, and carbs to a minimum but do allow yourself a treat from time to time. The food that you eat today is the person that you will be tomorrow.

Remember. Take some time every day to remember a happy day in your life. Think about your childhood and count your blessings. Pray for a teacher who impacted your life. Remember lessons that you have learned and recall the people who have made you who you are today.

“Wrinkles should merely indicate where smiles have been.” – Mark Twain

Dream. Look ahead with hope! Plan a trip! Make a new resolution! Save some money for tomorrow! Paint a room! Plant some flowers! Write a book! Do what you have always wanted to do!

“A man is not too old until regrets take the place of dreams.” – John Barrymore



This is an updated edition of a post originally published on Carol McLeod Ministries

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About the Author

Carol McLeod is a best-selling author and popular speaker at women’s conferences and retreats, where she teaches the Word of God with great joy and enthusiasm. Carol encourages and empowers women with passionate and practical biblical messages mixed with her own special brand of hope and humor. Carol is a prolific author and loves digging for truth in the Word of God. Carol writes a weekly blog, “Joy For the Journey,” that has been named in the Top 50 Faith Blogs for Women. Carol also writes a weekly column for “Ministry Today.” Carol has been married to her college sweetheart, Craig, for 41 years and is the mother of five children in heaven and five children on earth. Graduates of Oral Roberts University, Craig and Carol have spent the past 38 years pastoring churches across America.