I just saw an episode of an old television show in which some characters had found a fountain of youth, and they were more than willing to compromise their principles and their integrity in order to partake of the liquid that promised them youth that had long before gone away. It’s funny how every time we see shows like that, there are negative consequences for desiring to work against nature, against the “natural” order of things. We’re meant to get old, and we should just accept that fact and live with it rather than trying to regain our youth.
But what does it mean to get old? Does it necessarily mean that we
give up things that we enjoy? I don’t believe so for a minute. A
few years ago, I weighed right around 200 pounds, and the fastest I could run
a mile was over seven minutes. That’s okay, people told me (and I told
just growing older. These things happen. But I wasn’t willing to
accept that explanation–it didn’t feel right to me. I knew I was
gaining weight because I was eating more and exercising less than I was used
to, and it didn’t feel at all that it was inevitable to me. To make
the long story short, today I weigh 170 and I can run a mile in less than five
and a half minutes. That’s not such a big deal to most people, but
since I love to run, it’s important to me.
I’m not trying to be young again, and I’m not trying to prove anything
to anyone. But this body that I’ve been given is a great gift, and why
shouldn’t I try to make it work as well as it can for as long as it can?
Losing my abilities and growing older and heavier and slower would have been a
choice for me–the choice to be complacent and not to go through the hard
work of losing weight and working on my fitness levels. I’m not trying
to recapture my youth–I’m just trying to keep my body functioning at
healthy levels no matter what age I’m at.
There obviously is no fountain of youth, except for the one that’s in our
minds. Our minds can keep us young at heart and young in spirit, but
it’s up to us to make decisions if we also want to allow our bodies to age
gracefully and to stay healthy. It’s not a negative thing to desire
some of the things of youth, but it can be if we desire those things to come
to us from an outside source, like some silly fountain. Those things
come from inside of us, from our hearts, from our spirits. And only we
can access them there.