There is a fountain of youth.
It lies in our minds, our talents, and the creativity we bring to our life and to the people we love.
Did you see the New York Times Magazine two weeks ago?
The entire issue was on the Fountain of Youth and aging. There were two articles in particular that are worth a read.
The first...Old Masters: After 80, some people don't retire. They reign. [The online version is a longer article with more pictures and in-depth interviews than the printed one.]
They Reign. I love that.
And if you're going to reign, you need to wear a party hat. Why they didn't include that little tidbit in the issue, I'll never know.
After all, party hats represent so much that is youthful: joy, frivolity, free-spiritedness, happiness...and the list goes on and on and on...there's just no underestimating the power of the party hat.
So, I've added a very important, new job title to my curriculum vitae:
Maker of party hats for Octogenarians, Nonagenerians and Centenarians
My first hat was for Jim's Aunt Ruth who passed away last year at 92.
My second hat was for my friend Dolores who turned 85 last month. Since I wasn't able to make it to her birthday party, I sent a party hat along instead.
At 85, Dolores is still studying Japanese Embroidery with me and is full of life.
Which brings me to the second article in that NYT that was worth reading...What if Age is Nothing but a Mindset?
It discusses much of the work of Ellen Langer, a behavioral psychologist at Yale University who has spent her life demonstrating that using mindfulness to overcome our habits and ingrained biases can have profound effects on our outlook and performance.
My friend Carolyn (seen below assisting Dolores with her party hat) called me a few months ago to ask me a few questions. She was doing some research for a psychologist friend of hers. Her question, "How often did I look in the mirror? And what did I see when I look?"
I don't know about you, but I tend to look in the mirror only once in the morning to make sure that I'm groomed properly: hair straight, nose clean, chin hairs plucked. I wear no makeup most days. And when I look in the mirror, I see myself at about 24 years of age.
It turns out that seeing yourself younger than you actually are might be a very successful strategy in defying age.
The other big takeaway from the Old Masters...
The tree of knowledge and the fountain of youth are one and the same.
Happy Birthday, Dolores! Time to get crackin' on that Japanese Embroidery...