Continuing on my theme from yesterday, here is today’s quote:
Nobody grows old merely by living a number of years. We grow old by deserting our ideals. Years may wrinkle the skin, but to give up enthusiasm wrinkles the soul. ~Samuel Ullman
Mr. Ullman, apparently, is a man after my own heart. I strongly dislike the notion that a person grows old simply because of the number of years they have lived. Sure, they have “aged” and sure they are “experienced” but I don’t like the word “old.” It’s thrown around as a word I would expect to see in the dictionary like this:
Old [ohld] – 1. wrinkled, used-up, of bad or worthless condition 2. No longer worth value, useless, past the prime of life
and I happen to resent those assumptions (FYI…the actual dictionary definition is different). I resent the implication that my number of years (which happens to be 30) would somehow effect my value as a person. I also resent the implication that when I turn 40 or 50 or 75 or 90 that my value diminishes as a person. It offends me. I happen to be one of those people that values age and looks forward to each year as the amazing gift that it is. Sure, some years are going to be rough and things are going to be hard and life is going to be unpleasant but you know what? That is where wisdom and patience and empathy and understanding comes from. It is also where compassion and perserverance are developed. It is surviving the tough times that makes people who they truly are and turns them in to who they are meant to be. It is also those hard times that teach appreciation for the good things and the good times that we have in our lives.
Nobody grows “old” just because their birthday countdown clicks over. That’s just a ridiculous notion. People grow “old” when they stop recognizing the beauty in the world, when they stop appreciating life simply for life itself and
when they stop being strong in their faith, their beliefs and their ideals. People grow “old” when they become complacent with existence and stop having the desire to truly live. So what do we do to stop becoming “old”? We continue to pursue our passions, continue to do what we enjoy doing and never let a number hold us back. Remember that news story that ran recently about the skydiving incident involving first time jumper (and 80 year old woman) Laverne Everett? Don’t worry…she survived…but she also had her first skydiving experience at age 80. Yes…80!! Does she sound “old” to you? Not to me. To me she’s an experienced woman who is relishing her life and she is exactly the kind of person Samuel Ullman had in mind when he said the above quoted statement.