From the cradle to the grave, our lives are driven by how we perceive the world around us. We are born to a bright, illuminating exploration of endless exotic objects and unusually interesting big people who seem to be everywhere. Gradually, we become familiar with those objects and get to know the people surrounding us. Yet, as we grow into young adults, we confront more and more unknown wonders, ideas, relationships. But then somewhere along the path of life, most of us are hypnotized by the traditional construction of an aging man – that we must follow the order of procedures and grow old, too. That we have no choice but to follow suit, because that it simply the way it is. And then that search for wonder, for something new, begins to tragically fade away. But this is a disheartening ruse, and many of us have been fooled, blinded from the truth.
As a teenager, it was difficult to see the elderly have so much trouble simply walking from their car to the front door of a restaurant. I watched with my stomach tightly bound, hoping that they would make it inside safely, and not trip and then collapse to the hard ground, breaking, everything. The thought of becoming like this later in life terrified me, and I tried and failed to avoid paying particular attention to older people; they fascinated me. I thought, there must be some way to grow old, but not grow old. I had to find out, so I began asking questions.
Over the next ten years, I made it a point to talk to people about this topic, and continued to pay attention to what people said around me concerning the issue of aging. One middle-aged man stated, rather angrily, that it is just not possible to slow the aging process by continuing to work out, or that older people could maintain any kind of real strength and agility. He affirmed that I will find out myself when my time comes, and then I will understand. Another man, only 33, announced during a Taekwondo class, “ I can’t do it like I could when I was 25. What I wouldn’t give to be that age again.” Are you kidding me? At 33 years old? Why would he feel it in him to begin giving up on his capabilities at such a young age?
The human body is no self-lubricating mechanical wonder, but it can sustain a long, healthy life so long as you take care of it. We all know that our bodies change whether we like it or not, but it is very gradual, and can be slowed, adapted to, or if you are truly motivated, improved, with age. Many people have proven this, including Tsutomu Tosaka, a Japanese bodybuilding champion, who, at 74, looks amazing (Vikingbodybuilding.com).
Not all of us aim to compete, but people like Tosaka should prove to the world that anyone is capable of living no different than when they were 25. It should make little difference that the Japanese are known to be healthier and more active then Americans. Why should we make excuses in the first place? We can always learn to eat healthier, and make more of an effort to find the time to be active.
After all, being active is what makes us really feel alive, isn’t it? Maybe it is the most important thing we can do, because when we feel strong mentally and physically, when we feel capable and aging hasn’t distorted our way of thinking, then anything is possible. Even if we are successful, feeling healthy in these ways will instill even more passion into what we want to accomplish. It will keep that fire burning within.
In an article by Jeffry Life, M.D., Ph.D. titled “Fitness to Stay Strong at Any Age: How to Stop Getting “Old,” he talks about how he went from “exhausted to exhilarated,” and at 72, feels better than ever. He learned that his hormone and testosterone levels were very low, and he countered this problem by taking the right supplements. Just as a schizophrenic can find the right pills that will regenerate normal chemical activity in the brain, a person of any age can counter many deficiencies with exercise and, if necessary, supplements.
Who wants that sadness that seems to create a dark cloud over so many people as they age? Who wants that silence and loss of creativity and imagination? Who wants to feel weak, frail, and helpless? None of us do, of course, and we can often avoid all of these things. The truth is inside you, not what you see around you. It begins with the decision to want to live your life like you always did before, the belief that it is possible by what so many others have been able to do, and the will to take that first step outside your front door in the morning and look up to the sky as that brisk, startling winter air hits your face. Is there something out there for you? The answer does not depend on your age. It depends on you.