How To Stop Growing Old

While John Barrymore might prefer to be remembered for his acting, he’s probably best remembered for saying, ‘A man is not old until regrets take the place of dreams’. So, are you old, yet. Have you stopped dreaming?

We’re told that approximately 85% of us have all of our faculties in place, so no ailments should get in the way or prevent us from doing what we want to do. There is nothing physically or mentally to stop us believing that our best years are in front of us. We could conclude that we’re only as old as we feel.

So, do you have a dream (or dreams)? What is it? I reckon that making sure we have something to look forward to qualifies as a dream. Living a longer, better life depends on always making sure that we have a future – something to look forward to. Sure, living in the moment is important, but so too is dreaming.

If you agree with Barrymore (and others), therefore, you can be ‘old’ if you choose to be, and conversely. Do you recall the last time you felt ‘old’? It was likely when regrets took the place of dreams or having something to look forward to. It’s akin to Tony De Mello’s observation about happiness. When we’re feeling unhappy, he said, it’s likely that we’re probably thinking about what we don’t have. Happy people think about what they have and are thankful for that. A number doesn’t make you ‘old’.

‘Is this all there is?’ qualifies as a FAQ. This FAQ can lead to regrets or ‘shouldas’. The advice of Jacki Kennedy’s counsellor (in the movie, Jacki) fits, here. Every night when he got into bed and stared into the darkness, he’d ask, ‘Is this all there is?’ Yet, in the morning, his regrets disappeared because he always made sure that he has something to look forward to.

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