Getting “old” is a choice

Which conversely means that being young is also a choice.

In the scriptures we are commanded to, “become as a little child”. There is a lot of meaning in the simple phrase. Perhaps one overlooked meaning could be a commandment to be young.

Boys playing

What, then, is it that keeps children so young? For them, the whole world is new, exciting and challenging. Children are naturally active physically, exploring and inquisitive mentally, continually curious and learning.

What changes? Why do we stop being so young?

As we graduate high school and college we move out of the habits that we had as children. Our situation changes as well as our responsibilities.

When we stop our formal education we have the tendency to stop learning altogether. We get caught up in being entertained by our televisions, movies, music, video games, etc. Our creative processes slow down, unless our jobs require creativity. Otherwise, we tend to stop creating and learning.

As we become “adults” we are no longer under the wings of our parents and have to actually provide for ourselves. We have families and have to provide for them as well. It is easy to get stuck in the mind set of going to work every day, coming home and vegetating on the couch and then going to bed only to start it all over again.

In our twenties we change our habits from young and active to more sedantary physically, then mentally.

Then after thirty or so years, tradition holds that we should feel that we have worked enough and should then “retire”. The retirement tradition lends to an even more sedentary life style.

It is no wonder we that die when we are 60 or 70. Our bodies and minds have so atrophied from lack of use that they just give up.

These bodies that we have are amazing, even more amazing than we give them credit for. I submit that with the proper understanding and a massive change in the way we think about our bodies, they could actually live much longer. Even to a thousand years. We have records of people living nearly a thousand years, on this planet, in these same types of bodies. We know it is possible.

I ask again, what changes? Why do we stop being so young?

I think it is partially because of tradition. Getting old is a paradigm. We do it because that is what our parents did, and their parent before them, etc. We get old because we are following a pattern. We are taking the path of least resistance and doing what have been taught to do.

I also think that we stop being young because we stop creating. We stop imagining. We stop learning and being inquisitive about this universe that we live in. For some reason, when we get out of high school and college we think we know it all, or at least enough for us. We find a job and that is the end. We know enough to make some money to keep food on our table so that we can go through our daily rat wheel cycle of monotony that some people call life. I am sorry, but that is not my idea of life. I may love my job, but my job is not my life. It is merely one small aspect of my life.

We need to be continually creating. We need to rekindle the desire to learn more about who and what we are. What our capabilities are. Finding new frontiers to explore. Work and money are a means to an end, but our end should not be so limited. There are so many opportunities out there to learn and grow. So much that is exciting to learn and to do.

Another way to stop being young is to stop being physically active. We should be taking time to play every day. We should be pushing our bodies to their limits and forcing them to continue to rejuvenate themselves. Playing with children is a great way to be rejuvenated. I think that youth is actually contagious.

Think also on the types of foods we eat. How often do we eat living food (fresh fruits, vegetables, grains) compared to dead food (overly processed, deep fried, shelf life of an thousand years food)?

Getting old is a long held tradition. It is a fad that needs to go away.

We were sent here to learn how to control our bodies.

If in our minds we think that we are supposed to grow old, our bodies will follow suite. These bodies of ours have an amazing capacity for rejuvenation. Sadly, we currently do not tap into those abilities much. Much of it is due to a lack of knowledge, but much is also due to the “knowledge” that our bodies grow old. Sure, they CAN grow old, but why would we want that? Why have we let ourselves continue such a foolish tradition? I want my body to live to be one thousand earth-years old. When I am 950, I still want to be whooping up on 20 year old kids on the soccer field.

Now that you think I am completely crazy, watch this TED talk that I blogged about six months ago: Why we age and how we can avoid it

Then tell me if you still think I am crazy, and why.

7 thoughts on “Getting “old” is a choice”

  1. All my life people have told me I seem older than I am, and for the past 10 years or so I’ve definitely felt it.

    When I build my diet around fresh fruits, veggies, and grains (instead of adding them in as side-dish afterthoughts) I feel much better. And I bet I’d feel better still if I got a game of Steal the Flag in now and then!

    Still, I know what makes me feel older than the hills: all my worries and stress. They end up eating the time and energy I could spend enjoying my (relative) youth. I’m glad I happened to notice what you happened to write today, because it reminded me of another scripture and the fact that if I had a little more trust in the Lord, I wouldn’t be so stressed all the time.

    Thanks for yet another inspiring post!

  2. Velda, I am glad you enjoyed it. Thank you for your comment. I agree that we allow ourselves to indulge in stress and worrying far too much. I think that stress and worrying are both forms of fear. Fear is the opposite of Faith. Faith and Fear cannot exist in our minds at the same time. Therefore, if we do everything we can to put more Faith in our lives, the amount of Fear we have will diminish in proportions that converse to our Faith. As Jesus told Thomas, be not faithless, but believing.

  3. Very good Jonathan, great to be reminded to become more young. You are correct I think in your assertions. I planted many of these seeds your talking about 5 years ago and I’m seeing a big payoff now. Also I’m inspired by some of the 80 – 90 year olds that run marathons. I think our capacity is much greater then most people think. Like you said, creativity is important. We are all explorers when we choose to be.

  4. Ever since I was a little kid (and I mean like 3 or 4) people have been calling me an “old soul.” Now that I’m an adult, though I still love deep and intellectually challenging conversation and traditionally “grown up” activities, my greatest joys come from spending time with kids–my kids particularly, but also kids in general. My favorite calling of all time was Primary Chorister which sadly lasted for just under 2 years. I could have done that all day long! I love how children’s imaginations and zest for life create the perfect combination of adventure, leaning, and joy. It deeply saddens me how our world is making it more and more dangerous for these little ones to roam as freely as I used to when I was a kid, constraining their imaginations and assaulting their innocence.

    That said, though I couldn’t agree more with staying youthful in thought, feeling, and actions, I don’t want to live in mortality longer than absolutely necessary. I welcome the aging process, because without the changes and frequent adversities that come with aging I won’t be able to appreciate the blessings and refining powers associated with those phases of life. They exist for a reason. I personally prefer looking forward to an eternity of endless, perfected youth–accompanied by endless knowledge, power, resources, and opportunities to exercise that youthfulness.

    I just hope to live as youthfully (child-like) and as full of purpose as I can now to be ready for the freedoms of eternal youth. Just don’t make me live longer in mortality than I absolutely have to! 🙂

  5. JR, I guess some people enjoy mortality more than others. If I had my wish, I would never die. I would love to stay in mortality as long as possible. There is so much to do here. There are plenty of people on the other side doing what needs to be done over there. We need more people here in mortality to get done all that we need to. So I will do everything in my power to live long and young.

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