Youthfulness: A Matter of Perspective Senior Living Magazine Article by Kerri Strauss
The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why” ~ Mark Twain
It’s a beautiful day for a walk. A husband and wife vacationing stroll down a city street in an unfamiliar town when they are robbed by a stranger. The husband hands over his watch and a few dollars. The stranger happily runs away.
As time passes the wife gets emotional thinking about the incident. She has trouble at night when all the daily distractions have subsided, and she lays awake in bed with only her thoughts. It bothers her that they were violated. Why would someone do that? Why them? What if things had gone worse? What if…. Keeps her awake.
Meanwhile her husband lets out a hardy laugh as he recounts the event. The story grows each time he tells it with embellishments in all the right places to illicit laughs from others. It becomes an instant classic at family sit downs. Grandchildren request to hear it again and again.
As the days pass into weeks and years the robbers’ feelings turn from exhilaration, to paranoia, to relief, until he forgets it even happened. He has moved on. It becomes a non-event.
How is it that people, all of us, can share common experiences and walk away with different realities? The wife’s trauma is real. The husband’s sense of humor is real. The robber found no meaning beyond instant gratification.
Anyone reading this now is sharing the same time on earth, social events, and history in the making. Some of us are happy and some are not. There is a whole spectrum of “realities” that we are experiencing. Why, and more importantly, so what?
Ever explore the idea that reality is a self-imposed construct? That we are not destined to be who we are but that we have a choice in the matter? We don’t have to feel one way or the other.
As you sit reading these words think, “Am I happy? Am I unhappy? Why am I one or the other? What can I do to adjust? Does the thought of change overwhelm me? Feel trapped and that change would be impossible?”
As we age, most of us get set in our own ways. It doesn’t have to be that way. At any moment we can reinvent ourselves. It’s free. It’s a choice. It is possible. It doesn’t have to be dramatic. Subtle change can be impactful.
Can’t sleep at night. Set an alarm clock early and get out of bed. Go for a walk. Get fresh air. Eat healthy. Don’t take naps. Get plenty of sunlight. Socialize. Free, free, free… free yourself from your daily trappings. Free yourself from your excuses. Free yourself from a self-imposed jail.
Don’t have friends… volunteer at one of Bradford Counties 45 nonprofit organizations, at church, or join a club. Go for daily walks along Merrill Parkway to enjoy the river and watch the wildlife below. Research shows spending time near rivers, lakes, waterfalls and even fountains can soothe a troubled mind and promote a sense of relaxation. Immersing oneself in the natural environment enhances mental health.
Just leaving your house and having a purpose can give meaning to your life. Shake up your life like an etch-a-sketch and recreate your own reality from a blank canvas.
As we age, our bodies can fail us. Our minds and our attitudes, however, are of our own volition. Are you one of those people who feel, “I have bad luck” or “that person is always so lucky”? Is it really luck one way or the other? Is it possible that our own choices can get us in and out of situations?
Is the wife hopelessly broken? Is the husband hopelessly nonchalant? Is the robber simply reduced to being a “bad guy” forever?
I don’t think so. I think everyone, every day, everywhere has opportunities to mold and form their own perspectives. I believe we make our luck. Let’s not be afraid to shake up that etch-a-sketch and start anew. We need to take ownership of our lives, choices, and actions. I believe, by doing this, everyone can find happiness which just may be the key to youthfulness.