The experiment known as the Counterclockwise Study in which residents of a nursing home were invited to be as they were when they were young is intriguing. I am an older person, by society’s standards, who outwardly looks 10 or 20 years younger according to many people I have met. I give credit to life style choices involving diet, stress management, and other things. My hair is graying more and I wonder if one day my body will change in which I start to look my real age. The Counterclockwise Study discussed on msn.com was interesting to me because I wonder about health as time progress. Can the body stay vital, the mind sharp, and the sight of nature quietly thrilling?
Age is Just a Number
A popular phrase, age is just a number, actually has many meanings. Some believe that as you age, you express a certain composure. You are more selective in whom you affiliate with or how and whom you acknowledge. Age equals authority and wisdom. I agree in terms of the weight of statements but not in essential disposition. That is another way of saying everyone, from the youngest to the oldest deserves respect and to be treated well regardless of what they do or do not have. It also means we need not shroud ourselves in our age.
The mind can go on and remain fresh. The body may change, though much more slowly for some, but the mind is where experience occurs. We can decide how we experience life in many cases. The participants in the Counterclockwise Study showed that the mind can order the responses of the body. Our perspective can greatly impact our reality in a real way. The body may not remain ideal, but the mind can.
I have read that the brain’s organization changes some as we age. That can affect the way decisions are made. The process known as neurogenesis means our brain cells can be renewed and our capacity for thoughts, memories, and knowledge increased. I also read that the posthumous examination of Albert Einstein’s brain suggested a brain more common with someone years younger. Harvard scientist, E.O. Wilson is in his 80s now. I watched him discuss a wide range of matters in an interview on the Charlie Rose Show in late 2014. He was quite clear and compelling in his dialog. I see circumstantial evidence that the kind of activities we engage in, creative, intellectual, and actively social, can have a huge positive effect on how the vitality of our brains.
Age is important as a hint of our experience. Skills are not limited to technical things involving accounting, technology, medicine, law, and design. The whole of a person’s experience matters. Social skills in which you spent many years talking to people on the phone growing up can be a huge asset in talking with people in daily life. Little things we have done for years may not be exceptional or make a huge difference in some formal process but the point is whatever we do in life forms the total experience. We can draw on our experience to create better experiences and outcomes. If we choose. In the Counterclockwise Study, people who outwardly seemed devoid of the possibility for new experiences dispelled that notion when they were able to use the huge reservoir of experiences within them to create new moments of bliss that happened to be physically beneficial.
We Can Live Well For As Long As We Live
Everyone has the opportunity to live young in the mind. Whatever is within will echo out. There is a health benefit to having a young way of things. That is not the same thing as being irresponsible or rash. Those are not good things at any age. Rather, it is about not seeing endings but having the mind to see new possibilities. To continue to move forward despite countless failures and disappointments. You do not have to win a prize at the same time or the same way others do. That is exceedingly temporary anyway and is the real possibility that what works for others is incompatible with what nurtures you. Disaster can proceed from unnecessary comparison. Instead, your ability to renew your optimism and fascination, maybe not in everything, but in the right things can be a great source of energy.
Youth Founded on Freedom and Energy
The real joy is in living your life with freedom and energy. The secret of vitality is energy. When you are chronologically young, you naturally have this and it is helped by a sense of freedom in which you perceive you have choice. As we age, some of us accept a social condition in which surrender our perception of our personal freedom for many reasons. That is likely not the whole story but a part of it. That resignation informs a decline of inner energy that gradually hastens decline from the inside out. Thoughts become rigid and, before we know it, we are increasingly at odds with the cycles of existence.
Age is Not the End of Bliss
On the other hand, knowing that we cannot have everything we want, not even the most financially well off among us, but that we can still make choices is the fundamental freedom. We can still chose to enjoy, chose to believe, chose to ignore (most of the time) negative criticism and dialog, and chose to favor the right paths and experiences. That ability to choose leads to bliss. I imagine that is what the group in the Counterclockwise Study found within themselves. An energy source that perpetuates life long youthfulness of the mind.