‘So’ said she, as she leaned closer, her voice dropping to a whisper, an implicit promise of confidentiality imbuing the two little letters – ‘… have you had any work done?’ I laughed. Out loud. I might be just a few years shy of 50, but apparently I don’t look it!
Samuel Ullman – he who penned the poem Youth – wrote: Nobody grows old merely by living a number of years. We grow old by deserting our ideals. Years may wrinkle the skin, but to give up enthusiasm wrinkles the soul. I’d like to think that the absence of wrinkles on my face is also mirrored by an absence in my soul. At the end of what has been an exhausting week on so many levels, I am grateful that this tiredness comes from pushing myself to my limits – communications workshops, dinner theatre, first round of the Gift of the Gab, speech competitions, dinners and parties in Bath – and not from any lack of enthusiasm on my part.
For those of you who have never met him, let me introduce you to Mr Ullman:
YOUTH by Samuel Ullman
Youth is not a time of life; it is a state of mind; it is not a matter of rosy cheeks, red lips and supple knees; it is a matter of the will, a quality of the imagination, a vigor of the emotions; it is the freshness of the deep springs of life.
Youth means a temperamental predominance of courage over timidity of the appetite, for adventure over the love of ease. This often exists in a man of sixty more than a boy of twenty. Nobody grows old merely by a number of years. We grow old by deserting our ideals.
Years may wrinkle the skin, but to give up enthusiasm wrinkles the soul. Worry, fear, self-distrust bows the heart and turns the spirit back to dust.
Whether sixty or sixteen, there is in every human being’s heart the lure of wonder, the unfailing child-like appetite of what’s next, and the joy of the game of living. In the center of your heart and my heart there is a wireless station; so long as it receives messages of beauty, hope, cheer, courage and power from men and from the infinite, so long are you young.
When the aerials are down, and your spirit is covered with snows of cynicism and the ice of pessimism, then you are grown old, even at twenty, but as long as your aerials are up, to catch the waves of optimism, there is hope you may die young at eighty.
Note: For a reminder of what the Grateful series is about, check out Grateful 52