Many of us stop looking forward to birthdays after a certain age. But have you ever stopped and wondered why? Being young isn’t all romance, brains, and beauty. (In fact, it’s often more like curfews, exams, and acne.) But like philosopher Napoleon Hill, maybe it’s time we start looking back on the day we celebrate our birth. But, if you’re going to time travel through memory lane, make sure to take off those rose-coloured glasses before you go. And remember…
…age is just a number
If you are dreading all those birthday candles, stop counting and start doing. The age on your passport is much less important than how aged your passport is. Consider this: A 60-year-old frequent traveller likely feels a lot younger than a 45-year-old who spends all her free time in front of the television.
Staying young is about maintaining your physical and mental health. The key is making healthy food choices, exercising regularly, meeting up with old friends, and spending a bit of time each day doing what you love. (If you love your job, great! If you have a hobby you adore, even better!)
…time travel is a state of mind
If you don’t want to get old, start counting backwards. Napoleon Hill shared his secret to aging gracefully in one of his books: “Every year I subtract one year at the time of my birthday. Then I pay particular attention to the aspects of the world which appeal to a person of that age.” If you can suspend reality enough to follow in Hill’s footsteps, you might be able to enjoy the lifestyle of an earlier generation while benefitting from the wisdom that only comes with your years of experience.
…every birthday is a gift
Our ancestors knew that getting older was a special—even sacred—thing. In Native cultures, elders were revered for the wisdom they passed down to the next generation. In certain cultures today, older generations are still treated with a level of respect that borders on awe. In Korea, for example, the young must always pour drinks for the old. And it is considered rude to drink alcohol while facing an elderly person.
So start treating your birthday like the gift that it is! One more year to get out there and do the things you love, to re-live the best moments of your youth, and share your wisdom with younger generations.
Happy Birthday! How young are you?
by Kathleen O’Hagan