I am sure I echo many members of my generation who express the feeling, “I don’t feel as old as I am!”
We look in the mirror and see the inevitable downward slide of gravity’s toll, the wrinkles or fine lines that our frolics in the sun have left us as souvenirs, and sometimes we see the fatigue that lingers in eyes that have seen pain, sadness, and struggle. But when we look away from that mirror and assess ourselves, we are often shocked by the mismatch between the image we have seen and the way we feel inside. I don’t know about you, but I am enjoying that immensely!
I have found the secret to the fountain of youth and it may be available to you wherever you are and whatever you are doing. It is thinking young.
How do we think young? We stay open, flexible to new things and new thoughts, and we move our bodies and our minds as much as we can. But the very easiest thing you can do to keep thinking young is to keep communicating with young people. That’s the secret!
I have been mentoring for a long time with the Seedling Mentoring program in Austin, Texas, and after four years with my first mentee (her family eventually moved away), I am now mentoring a kindergartener and I have to tell you, every Wednesday with LC is a revelation. Her mind is like a little hamster wheel tossing off observations, creative ideas, and 6-year-old wisdom. This is a picture she recently drew of me with a Super Cape and “lots of bling” on my crown. Awesome, huh?
How can you ever feel old when you know someone sees you like this?
But you don’t have to mentor a six-year-old. Young people of all ages are thirsty for the attention, experience, and wisdom you can bring into their lives. Check around and see where you can plug-in! I have mentored two young women who are early in their very successful careers through a program called YWA Connect. It is a smart outreach of Austin’s Young Women’s Alliance, and I have made new friends and gained great perspective by getting involved. The secret? (Believe me, I still work on it!) is to listen far more than you speak and to hold space for these young people to process all of the input they are constantly bombarded by each and every day. You can perform a great service and benefit personally at the same time. It’s a true win-win situation.
This blog post first appeared on the One Woman’s Day Blog – a Project of the Story Circle Network. Women of all ages and interests are invited to join Story Circle Network and contribute to the OWD Blog and many other outlets provided by this national group of supportive women writers.