"I don't want to grow old," my wife said, as we lay there in the dark. Both of us attempting sleep. But neither of us being very successful.
I knew what was on her mind. Her grandmother was dying. Although she had come to terms with this a couple of years ago,(her grandmother has been very sick for a few years now) the reality of it was still weighing on her.
"What about you?" she asked. I could he the saddness in her voice.
"It doesn't bother me," I said.
I am not sure if she believed me. Actually I know she didn't. But I wasn't in a position to answer her. I had finally found sleep and it was welcoming me with open arms.
It was the last conscious thought I had before going to sleep though and it was still with me when I woke up this morning.
Do I want to grow old? Well, no, not really. But obviously it is something I can't prevent. But it doesn't bother me.
I think Frank Sinatra said it best, "And if you can survive, till 105, think of all you'll derive out of being alive, now here is the best part, you got a head start, if you are among the very young at heart."
See, while I understand there are things that affect our bodies as we get older, I refuse to let my spirit grow old. No matter what.
I hold the position that we can do anything, at any age, as long as we can maintain a young spirit. But how do you do it?
So far, in my brief 35-years of life, I have discovered a couple of different ways. First, let go of anger. Anger does very little to brighten our lives. In fact, anger actually shortens our lives. So what's the point. If you are mad at someone let them know. Tell them why, and then let it go. The longer you hold on to it the longer it festers. It becomes a cancer that eats at your soul. You don't need it.
Play. Play all the time. Even if you are working you can find someway to have a little fun. Go outside, play with your kids, play with your friends. Just play.
I love going outside and playing catch with my boys. I love wrestling with them. I love drawing the energy from their young spirits and infusing it with my own.
Be involved. I don't just mean with your community, although that plays a portion of it, but be involved with your kids and their lives. Go to the sporting events, read a book with them, draw picture. Again, let their youth invigorate you.
I fail to understand the grandparent who chooses not to be involved with their grandkids. They are missing out.
I know that, when I look back on my life, I want to be able to say, "Yes grandson, I remember when we played tag." Or, "Yes, grand daughter, I remember helping to fix your car."
And as I slip from this world, at a an old age, I know that I can do it with a smile on my face and youth in my heart.