Unquestionably, mental training with the resultant buoyancy and alertness helps to keep one young, while mental indifference or laziness. tends to make one old. Most people fear old age, and hate to see it coming on. One thing which makes it so dreaded is the fear of failing mental powers. And when memory begins to fail, the result is especially depressing. The individual loses courage to undertake what would be well within his powers to accomplish, and the carrying out of which would strengthen him for other efforts.
The continual negative suggestion which follows continual forgetting is very harmful, and does much to hasten the coming of old age. The continual auto-suggestion, ” I am getting old,” works as surely and insidiously as a dose of poison. I believe it was Dean Swift who said mournfully, ” I am like a tall fir-tree, I shall die first a-top.” After all, age is a state of mind, rather than a number of years. Recently John D. Rockefeller, Jr., referring to the exuberant spirit of his father in contrast with his own serious turn of mind, made the statement: ” My father is young enough to be my son, and I am old enough to be his father.”
The following quotation from an unknown author reflects clearly the trend of modern thought on this point and at the same time contains many helpful suggestions for those who understand the inner meaning of youth and strive to exemplify it in their lives.
“Youth is not a time of life; it is a state of mind. It is not a matter of ripe cheeks, red lips, and supple knees; it is a temper of the will, a quality of the imagination, a vigor of the emotions. It is the freshness of the deep springs of life.
“Youth means a temperamental predominance of courage over timidity, of the appetite for adventure over the love of ease. This often exists in a man of fifty more than in a boy of twenty.
” Nobody grows old by merely living a number of years. People grow old only by deserting their ideals.
” Years wrinkle the skin; but to give up enthusiasm wrinkles the soul.
” Worry, doubt, self-distrust, fear and despair these are the long, long years that bow the heart and turn the grieving spirit back to dust. Whether sixty or sixteen, there is in every human being’s heart the lure of wonder, the sweet amazement at the stars and at starlike things and thoughts, the undaunted challenge of events, the unfailing, childlike appetite for what next, and the joy of the game of living. You are as young as your hope, as old as your despair.”
” In the central place of your heart is an evergreen tree; its name is Love. So long as it flourishes, you are young. When it dies, you are old. In the central place of your heart is a wireless station. So long as it receives messages of beauty, hope, cheer, grandeur, courage, and power from God and from your fellowmen, so long are you young.”