Many years ago when I went away from my village in pursuit of an education, I left behind, a number of young boys and girls. Shortly afterwards, when I returned home, hardly did I recognize many of them. They looked old; were married; and had children. Actually they were not old. They only looked old.
This brings us to a sad reality of life. Some people look old when they are not. At less than twenty, they look old and worn out. On the other hand, there are others who look forever young and strong although in reality they are old. At sixty they look as if they were forty or less.
I launched the topic of aging on this site to get people to explain why some people age rather fast while others remain for ever young. Many pertinent reasons were given. You can read them here. To summarize the various views given, many of those who participated in the discussion talked about one’s state of mind, lifestyle, thoughts, the environment, alcohol, drugs, poverty, being in an abusive relationship, money, hard life, passion for one’s dreams, plastic surgery, etc as factors that make one either look older or younger than one is.
I got inspired by that sharing and appreciate those who took off time to participate in the discussion. Let me share with you a talk I gave on radio a few years back on aging. You may find it enlightening as far as this topic is concerned.
I began by saying poverty was a major factor in making people look old when in reality they are not. I was drawing from the experience and reality around me. The content of one’s pocket determines to a great degree, one’s quality of life. If your pocket has holes, so to speak, there will be more chances that age will take on you early. You will find many young but poor people looking very old.
Experts give us some intriguing insights into the issue of aging. They say the older one is, the more slowly one ages; and physically we don’t change as much from thirty to forty as we do from twenty-five to thirty; or from fifty-five to seventy-five as from forty to fifty-five.
They say different parts of our bodies grow old at different rates. Our eyes begin to age at ten; our hearing at twenty and by thirty our muscular strength has passed its peak. That’s why footballers beyond thirty are often considered too old to play.
One of the most striking revelations they make is that our minds are still young and growing at fifty; but do not reach their zenith until around 60? This explains why retirement for University Professors is at 65. After that, these experts tell us, mental efficiency declines very slowly right up to the age of eighty; and at eighty, one can just be as mentally productive as one was at thirty; and knows a lot more too.
To go by the experts, older people often suffer some loss of memory but creative imagination is ageless. “What’s more,’ they say, “with age we develop insight and perspective. Our judgment and reasoning powers improve.” We gather a wealth of experience that is useful in tackling the tough problems of life. In short, with age comes wisdom. Hence, the older lawyer, the experienced worker will usually outdo the younger more vigorous one in the field.
It is intriguing that some young people are carried away by the idea of looking older than they really are. The reason is they want to be considered as mature and respected. Thus, they dress to look older. Ironically, much later, these same people do not want to be seen as old. They want to be seen as younger than they are.
Some people actually remain young-looking as they grow old. If they tell you what age they are, you will hardly believe it.
How can we explain this? What accounts for their youthful appearance? What is the formula for staying youthful as you grow old?
Some experts say the secret is: to concentrate on the part of you that is still growing. Here they mean your brain. They ask that you keep your mind awake and you’ll stay young all over. They also advise that you take an interest in the world around you and make a point of learning one new thing every day.
Psychologists talk of two contrasting personality types among people of the middle thirties. Some men and women, they say, are constantly broadening their interests. They read newspapers and magazines, listen to radio and watch television and get busy with creative hobbies especially those that involve the use of their hands as well as their brains.
On the other hand, others at thirty-five slump into a dull routine. Day after day, they do their job, get back home, have dinner, glance at the evening paper, listen to radio or watch television briefly and go to bed. There’s no fun in their lives.
Without fun, age is fast to come. Hence, while people of the first type grow younger with increasing years, those of the second group grow older than their years. If the latter do not change, they’ll be old at forty-five.
We thus can say that looking young or old depends very much on us as individuals; what we do; and factors such as our environment, education and social status. Many of us put age on our faces. If we make ourselves old in the mind, of course, our physical bodies will go with our minds. This means we will look old.
Staying young is easy for those who live in the future. The moment you tell yourself ‘it’s over for me in life’, for sure, it will be. You will begin to look old. If, on the other hand, you tell yourself that your future is still ahead of you, and actually mean it, it doesn’t matter how many candles you have burnt, you will continue to look young even as you grow old.
Our habits play a big part in making us look old or young. These include our health, feeding, and drinking habits, who we associate with, and what we live for. They are all very important. If you are clean, keep your body clean, and wear clean, smart clothes, you will look young. If you are dirty and dress like an old man or woman, nothing can make you look young.
One of my secrets of staying young-looking is to interact a lot with young people. I draw strength and fresh ideas from them and they keep my mind and body young and fresh.
Indeed, the list of things that can make one look older or younger than one is can be long and inexhaustible. The long and short of it is looking older than we are or younger than we are depends on us. It depends on our thoughts, our habits, our actions, our lifestyle and our environment especially the people we associate with.
No one can dispute that looking younger than we really are rather than older than we really are is better. It shows that we are living a good life.
We, therefore, have to know those things that make us look older than we really are and avoid them; and do those things that will keep us looking young as we grow old