12 June 2012

New brains for old . . . you can't do much about the years rolling by, but you needn't be 'elderly' in your mind: all you need is a different outlook.

You Can Be As Young As You Think*

The Six Wisdoms of Youth . . . . . . . . . 
Being open to others
Being open to change
Having enlightened selfishness
Being always 'switched on'
Having fun
Being Creative

1 Be open to others: This Wisdom is about extending your social gene pool - being open to people, so that you have a growing network of friends and associates, rather than a diminishing one.  Finding friends can be hard, but start with friends of friends or by joining new associations.
Using the internet is not for everyone but is clearly a success among most people who use social media for networking.  However you do it, you should have two aims.  Add at least one new friend a month! And introduce fresh blood from different demographics.  For example, ask yourself, how old is my youngest friend? My oldest friend?  The push that age range.  
Finally, start going to busy places, joining in with the crows.  Rediscover the joys of shared emotions and 'feeling part of it'.

2  Being open to change: When life moved slowly and changed little, being inflexible and stubborn didn't matter.  But these days, accelerated change means that being able to navigate through life is the only way to remain connected and interested.
Change, of course, is scary because it means leaving something known behind and taking a risk with something new.  To overcome this fear, start with altering little things and get into the habit of doing this differently.  Change where you sit in the lounge.  Get an electric toothbrush.  Buy a vegetable you've never tried before.  Then go on to the bigger things in life.  One year you might spend Christmas with friends rather than family.  Mix things up.  Make them exciting.  Get life fizzing again.

3  Enlightened selfishness: Giving to others brings goodness to our lives, but occasionally we need to focus on our own learning and growth in order to be more effective at giving.  Part of this personal learning is about giving ourselves permission to explore - and able to make mistakes.
Ensure that errors and setbacks (even serious ones) are learning experiences - so a 'failure' is seen as a growth opportunity rather than a personal flaw.  Work on how you interpret mishaps and focus on how far you have moved forwards.

The Wisdom of Experience
Of course, life teaches us lessons and judgement along the way - about morality, about realism, about the value of families and so forth.  This of course is what we know as maturity, and this Wisdom is a profoundly useful compass.  Fusing experience with the Wisdoms of Youth offers your best chance of a revitalised, meaningful life and will bring you fresh joy and interest along the way.
It is possible to liberate yourself from mindsets that limit your prospects, and rejuvenate the way you view the world and interact with it.  You will discover a fuller, richer life, fill your later years with relevance and find new, interesting, nourishing friends.
Because you really can be as young as you think.  Go for it - and good luck!

Mini Brain Age Test
Someone asks 'How are you?'  How do you respond?  If you have a Young Brain, you will say 'Fine' and change the subject to something more interesting.  Old Brains, on the other hand, will respond with a litany of hospital appointments, ailments and assorted minor disasters.
The French have a phrase, 'moins on en parle, moins on en souffre' that means 'the less you talk about it, the more you suffer from it'. Wisdom indeed.

* book by Tim Drake and Chris Middleton

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