Samuel Ullman wrote, “Youth is not a time of life; it is a state of mind.” Ullman (April 13, 1840 – March 21, 1924) was an American businessman, poet, humanitarian, and religious leader. He is best known today for his poem "Youth," which was a favorite of General Douglas MacArthur. The poem was on the wall of MacArthur's office in Tokyo when he became Supreme Allied Commander in Japan. He quoted it often in his speeches. It became better known in Japan than in the United States. I have had the great pleasure of meeting thousands of Elders in my professional life and it is so true that some are young and some are old and it is no reflection of their chronological age. Some folks are old at 60 and others are young at 90. Truly youth is a state of mind!
So much is known today about the mind body connection and the power of our belief system. Research is proving that we have much more control over the aging process than we could have ever imagined. Think about it, are the Elders you know that are young at heart and engaged in life also healthier and happier? Which came first, their state of mind or their state of good health? Ullman poem reads, “Youth is not a time of life; it is a state of mind; it is not a matter of rosy cheeks, red lips and supple knees; it is a matter of the will, a quality of the imagination, a vigor of the emotions; it is the freshness of the deep springs of life. Years may wrinkle the skin, but to give up enthusiasm wrinkles the soul. Worry, fear, self-distrust bows the heart and turns the spirit back to dust.” I suggest we all examine out attitudes about aging to see if we have a youthful state of mind. We have the power to change our thoughts and to create a new paradigm. The poem ends with, “catch the waves of optimism, there is hope you may die young at eighty.” I’m shooting for a youthful 100, how about you? Join the conversation on Facebook at Just Now Old Enough.