31 July 2012

Fountain of Youth?

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 myself), you’re 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.

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