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Staying Young (Longer)

Updated on February 11, 2020
ValKaras profile image

Val is a life-long practically oriented student of effective emotional and attitudinal responses to the many challenges of life.

Some People Look and Act like "Old-Timers"  -  some others Don't
Some People Look and Act like "Old-Timers" - some others Don't

A Denial or Not

Around last Christmas I turned 74, and the year is 2019 -- for those who may read this some years from now. Before you start feeling sorry for me -- please don't, and if you stay with me for the rest of the article, you are bound to find out why.

You see, while the most of those of my age are busy refreshing their celestial connections, so that their name doesn't end up on the list of that very hot place down there -- my only concern for the years to come is how to respond to accusations about my "living in a denial".

For, here I am with this peculiar and shameless attitude about aging that will make some of you call me a "dreamer", if not some other names from your mocking vocabulary. Watch out folks, it's that very attitude that has caused at least one of those lines on your beautiful face!

As for me, I don't care what I am called, and as you maybe have guessed -- with such an attitude I am smoothening some of these lines on my own face.

Brain and Skin - Old Pals

Before you start slapping me with that old-dated biology book in a protest to my "smoothening wrinkles" as something impossible, let me remind you that the process is only opposite from those cases where some folks turned grey and wrinkled overnight under some enormous emotional trauma.

Never heard of such cases? Well, now you have. Indeed, our body is incredibly responsive to our emotional states, and in a support to this statement, let me remind you how those first tissues in human embryo to start developing are the ones of brain and skin.

Even in embryo they like keeping each other company until the other body parts show up. Well, let's you and I chat a little about this getting-old business, and I hope to make some new friends in the process, if my ideas happen to be any contagious at all.

If You Believe You Are Younger than Your Age  -  You Probably Are
If You Believe You Are Younger than Your Age - You Probably Are

What We Believe Shows on Us

First of all, we have been subjected to certain negative and misleading "facts of life" for the most of our years so far. Even as little kids we noticed that grandma's face didn't look as smooth as mommy's, and maybe wondered why. Being very impressionable as kids, maybe already then we didn't like the passage of the time.

Except that growing up was at least promising us a time when no one would tell us anymore to brush our teeth; and besides, looking taller was a kind of cool. Not for long, baby. So, for all those many years we kept witnessing how folks had to look at a certain chronological age. And when you are repeatedly exposed to something, it tends to become a strong belief.

If I haven't told you yet that our bodies are just as suggestible as our minds, now is the right time. Indeed, our cellular intelligence is closely watching our beliefs and setting their level of vitality accordingly, as well as our biological clock.

Hey, I didn't make it up, I found it in some smart books written by those fine medical scientists who surely know more than our grandma who told us long time ago : "Well, honey, we all have to grow old". And so we did.

For, who would want to make our sweet grandma wrong, after all those candies that she secretly handed to us when mom was not watching?

"Young-at-Heart" Beats Young-and-Miserable
"Young-at-Heart" Beats Young-and-Miserable

Those Rejuvenating Memories

At the mention of those smart scientists, an experiment came to mind. I must have mentioned it in an earlier article, but you don't mind if an old-timer repeats himself, that's what we do quite often at this age, you know.

Just kidding, look, my memory is so good that I remember using the experiment before in an article, so I am safe there. O.K., it was about a bunch of old-timers, those over 80 who were to spend a few weeks at a special place decorated to remind them of their young years; to listen to music of their young age; to dress up in those clothes of their young age, and generally revive that ambient and times of their youth.

Also, they were instructed not to even once mention their current health conditions and complaints to one another, but only reminisce about those "good, old times of youth". At the end of the experiment, the scientists were astounded by the results.

Namely, most of the parameters of vitality showed an incredible improvement in all of those involved in the experiment. Well, anybody starting to view the facts about aging a little differently?

Worrying Ages Us Faster than any Bad Foods or Bad Habits
Worrying Ages Us Faster than any Bad Foods or Bad Habits

Worries and Aging

There are quite a few of those crucial factors affecting the rate of aging, and I don't have the space available to elaborate on all of them, so let me skip nutrition and life style as those most notable and get to the one of chronic stress levels. In any case, I wouldn't have much to tell you about nutrition -- in my opinion, as long as we use some common sense we are on the safe side.

Please note that in all those places on earth which are known for the number of centenarians there are no health food stores, with no experts to preach about a "balanced diet". I'll let you draw the conclusions.

Back to stress. Indeed, layer upon layer of stressful experiences accumulated over so many years---most of them self-inflicted -- will certainly do a number on our vitality and our looks. Due to a poor stress management, those bad incidents in life just keep piling up in our memory bank as an embarrassing deposit.

I say "embarrassing", because look at us -- after all that worry here we are still in one piece, proving all those worries senseless, useless, and downright crazy.

The way we perceive life affects our genes
The way we perceive life affects our genes

Genes Reflecting Our Hearts' Beliefs

When I look in the mirror, I don't really see those "shorter telomeres in my cells", but what actually made them shorter, which is the sum total of my overreacting to life situations. O.K., I may have some excuses there, like a lousy childhood, growing up in a communist society (not Russia), army service, two emigrations, while having to learn a new language -- so that eventually I could share with you these views about aging today.

I am sure you have your own impressive bunch of valid excuses for your own set of wrinkles. But wait -- hardships or not, people are still giving me ten or more years less than my chronological age. Forget about my "good genes", it has been proven that we are overriding our genetic predisposition with our belief system, attitude, and emotional climate that we are maintaining. (Epigenetics!)

So, sit back, "grasshopper", and put yourself into my rosy disposition to learn a thing or two about aging, because I am not merely yapping about something that I may not prove with my own example.

No Doctors and Pills for Me

While I can't give you a recipe for turning your biological clock backwards, or an elixir of youth to take three times a day after meals, at least I'll try to impress you with this fact that I am not crying on your shoulder about my daily getting closer to my 75th birthday. Not me.

Actually, I am somewhat reluctant to brag about it while taking a risk of being called a liar, but what the heck -- I already said that I didn't care what I was called, so here it is : I haven't seen a doctor for some dozen of years, haven't taken any medication, including painkillers, antacids, or preparation-H, all of which are "normal" companions at this age.

I hope I don't have to mention not having taken any tranquilizers or antidepressants either. Oh, I almost forgot to include the little blue pill in the above assortment of the "old-age-pills".

We Tend to only Remember those Nice Times of Youth  -  maybe We Are Better Off Now
We Tend to only Remember those Nice Times of Youth - maybe We Are Better Off Now

Was Youth really All that Great?

Now, let's see about that "wonderful time of youth", so much mentioned in poetry about time passage, and "all good things that are gone forever". Remember those lo-o-o-ng hours at work, year after year?

Or, how about that boss or co-worker that you hated with passion? What about all those weekends that passed in doing chores, having mother-in-law over for dinner, or going to parties that made you happy to come home afterwards?

How many Mondays you would have given anything to be able to sleep in -- something that you can do now? What about raising kids, including anything from changing diapers to arguing with them -- in those times when you were not too busy "loving them dearly", as you prefer remembering it these days?

Are you sure those were the "best times of your life"? Let me give you some news, actually borrowed from one of my previous paragraphs -- our minds and bodies were just displaying a level of energy by "acting appropriately to that chronological age". And now we think it's "appropriate" to feel and look old. Well, nobody can deny that we are a very smart specie.

It's Human to Bitch, so "Counting Our Blessings  -  Not Curses" Could Help
It's Human to Bitch, so "Counting Our Blessings - Not Curses" Could Help

Can't Enjoy what We Have

Believe it or not, but there is not much difference between feeling stuck at a job or feeling stuck at an old age. It's our choice how we want to experience it. I am telling you, folks, when we make an honest inventory of what those young years consisted of, being at this age may even turn out to be a blessing.

You may want to add another factor there, having to do with something that's so natural for humans -- we are never satisfied. I personally know quite a few of those folks who were pissed off at life when money was pouring, and are still pissed off while its dripping.

We always seek something different, with a pathetically low capacity to enjoy what we have.

Let's Create some of those Colorful Bubbles in Our Fancy and See the World as more Beautiful and Friendly Place
Let's Create some of those Colorful Bubbles in Our Fancy and See the World as more Beautiful and Friendly Place

Let's Make Ourselves Happy

Another problem is related to the just mentioned one -- for the most of our life we were expecting others to please us and to "make us happy", while never realizing that no one could possibly give us something that we refused to give to ourselves, like love, appreciation, attention, and respect.

So now, at this older age we are still fishing for signals from others that they might be willing to give us some of it. Our spouses don't see us attractive anymore -- maybe because we got grouchy, not so much because we are physically worn out. Beauty is skin deep, folks.

Our friends are all about illnesses and politics, so that even their compliments sound sour, said through that sour smile calibrated by all those doctors, medications, poor self-image, and lousy politics. Come on, folks, detach yourselves emotionally from such lousy donors of happiness, and give yourselves that gift of love that you owe to yourself, maybe for too long.

We should See an Inspiration in a Perky and Happy Old-Timer, Not Scare Ourselves with those who Are Half Dead
We should See an Inspiration in a Perky and Happy Old-Timer, Not Scare Ourselves with those who Are Half Dead

All of Our Own Make

So now you know it -- we are making ourselves sick and old by making our immune system weak with a constant bombardment of negativities, and by unconscious conviction, or call it a verdict, that we are supposed to feel and look appropriately to our chronological age.

Then we become poets about the "passing youth", inspiring the younger generation and warning them not to have audacity to expect anything better than we've got. Or, at least most of us do it, myself still being a rebel defying all those "facts of life", something that I have been trying to make obvious about myself all along.

I can't see myself as a senile and fragile dude. I much prefer getting inspired by those in their eighties climbing mountains, parachuting, painting, joking, having sex, gliding, even fishing. Not that there are so many of them around, I must admit.

However, you can still at least hear or read about such rare specimens of old-timers who don't really give a rat's ass about who is to become the new occupant in the White House, what are terrorists up to, and why that neighbor does nothing about his dog crapping on the sidewalk.

It's Really up to Us How Old We Are  -  Not up to "Genes"
It's Really up to Us How Old We Are - Not up to "Genes"

We Can Make It Better - if Not Fabulous

I hope I gave you some kind of a subliminal warning at the very start that I was not very believable when it's about aging, and it would take an effort of objectivity to see something valuable in this article. You see, most of the folks don't take you seriously as soon as you dare to dump everything on their lap as their responsibility.

And yet, let me add this one to the bouquet of my other illusions -- maybe some of you may re-think about your old-age condition, and find enough spirit in you to decide not to give in to the years of your age.

No one can tell you what it is exactly that you should address --you are the only one knowing your intimate life, and only you are called upon to correct something there. Well, why not? What else is so important in your daily schedule that you wouldn't find time for it? Life is a fascinating journey, and we are still far from arriving.

© 2016 Val Karas


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    • vidsagster profile image


      12 months ago

      Hi Val,

      I thoroughly enjoy this conversation with you. It really did make me smile. Your sense of humor is what I liked most about you which reflects in your writing and it makes reading the articles enjoyable. I totally agree with you. Degrees don't mean anything. When you write from your heart, it is genuine and inspiring. We read to learn from other people's experiences in life and not for any literary treatises which academics anyway provide us with. Hub pages is a wonderful site where I get the chance to interact with great hubbers like you.

    • ValKaras profile imageAUTHOR

      Val Karas 

      12 months ago from Canada

      Vidya, my friend -- I just as much as glanced at your work -- before I will read it thoroughly tomorrow -- and I can tell you, you are definitely NOT a "beginner", as you modestly say. And I am certainly not someone to give YOU advice about how to write.

      English is only my second language, I studied it for 8 years, along with Latin, in my youth. I still have an accent after half a century spent in Canada, but I don't worry much about my composition and grammar -- especially since I noticed some born Americans with claimed degrees use "there" instead of "their", "its" instead of it's, "your", instead of "you're"...etc.

      Besides, Hub Pages is not a site where we are expected to imitate a Shakespeare. Just for sake of some humor -- my vocabulary is better than Trump's conversational use of English, and he only uses some fancy words if he sees them written for him on a teleprompter, that is -- if he can read them properly, lol. I can also swear in English just as well as he can, accent or not.

      O.K.,now you could tell that your new comment put me again in this jolly mood, and I am grateful for that. I hope I also succeeded to put a smile on your face with the above few lines aiming at being funny.

    • vidsagster profile image


      12 months ago

      That's the best thing about you Val which I liked, your common sense logic and down to earth style of writing. And I hope my literary creations are of some interest to you too. I will always welcome your advice on writing as I am just a beginner,

    • ValKaras profile imageAUTHOR

      Val Karas 

      12 months ago from Canada

      Vidya -- Your intention to read all my articles sounds flattering to the left overs of my ego -- after all that self bombardment with eye-opening, out-of-box truisms about my true self.

      Don't let my prognosis discourage you, but at one point or another, during that reading, your interest is bound to suddenly drop -- like it has with many of my readers, according to both, number of views, and comments.

      People don't like being yanked out of their comfort zone -- reminded of their waste of time with politics, their not followed religious faith, their lack of a sound stress management, and their illusions about many beliefs handled by "common sense"-logic.

      And I don't blame them, while writing for me stays a hobby of expressing myself -- regardless of how many curious eyes may visit what I write.

      But, I certainly hope that, before that moment comes for you, at least some bits may inspire you in a positive way, like they have done it to a few of my readers who also became my dear friends.

      And, if you see my comments under your own literary creations, it won't be a "returned favor", which I dislike in this practice of "following-because-followed", but because your comments have aroused my genuine curiosity about your work.

    • vidsagster profile image


      12 months ago

      Thanks for the comment Vlad. I am looking forward to reading all your articles. I am fairly new to Hubpages and it is taking me some time to get to know all hubbers. Keep up the inspiring writing, we really enjoy reading it.

    • ValKaras profile imageAUTHOR

      Val Karas 

      12 months ago from Canada

      Vidya -- I'm happy you share my thoughts about the value of life. It's the only one we've got, and even if we would reincarnate, we'd be given another series of tests -- maybe harder ones than the one we have been facing -- to appreciate being alive.

      When I think of my trillions of body cells doing their best to preserve life and well being -- I just can't not to join them.

      Thank you for the kind words of praise.

    • vidsagster profile image


      12 months ago

      Great article Vlad, I admire your thinking. What you mention is so true,that life is a fascinating journey. There is so much to do and so much to learn yet. Age is just a number and it is up to us to make it either fabulous or miserable. Unless we give ourselves love, respect, and appreciation we cannot make our life better.

    • hwmzaf profile image


      2 years ago

      good article

    • AlexK2009 profile image


      4 years ago from Edinburgh, Scotland

      Excellent and inspirng hub. I will take time to digest it.

    • AlexK2009 profile image


      4 years ago from Edinburgh, Scotland

      Excellent and inspirng hub. I will take time to digest it.

    • Cee-Jay Aurinko profile image

      Cee-Jay Aurinko 

      4 years ago from Cape Town, South Africa

      I enjoyed reading your article, Vladimir Karas. People have been telling me I look too young for my age all my life. It's not my fault my stress levels are low! I'm wired to bark only when I have the time lol.

    • ValKaras profile imageAUTHOR

      Val Karas 

      4 years ago from Canada

      MsDora - Freedom always meant a lot to me - in more than one way, and just thinking of those long hours (yes: lo-o-o-o-ng!) on the job fills me with joy these days when I get to be my own boss, doing what I want and when I want. So suddenly I realized how something like time can make me feel rich - I have so much of it, whereas before everything and everyone seemed to be grabbing it away from me!

      I don't know about your age, and being a gentleman I am not asking - but you certainly look great, and in your case it's a kind of glow from within. I gather that you are a lady of a strong faith, and I can tell that it's all positive. For that I congratulate you. Enjoy that gift of your fine mind and heart, MsDora, and keep doing whatever you are doing, it's serving you well in your persistent youth.

    • profile image


      4 years ago

      An excellent Hub! I will be 63 next month. I think genetics dominate my hair color, as it does my sisters' and my father. I didn't start getting any gray until about age 57. I have gray at my temples and a little elsewhere. My dad was 71 when he passed on and had almost black hair with only a little bit of gray. My son is almost 45 and has a couple of gray strands. The lack of so much grayness isn't due to lack of stress -- not for me, anyway. I don't have a lined forehead but I have crow's feet. I think maybe avoiding looking in the mirror besides in the morning helps. You can feel like you're 40 on a good day. Also, I don't eat the way they say you're supposed to (vegetables -- ugh) but I eat a lot of protein. I also drink alcohol and smoke tobacco. I don't do pot or any other drugs. Don't use much sugar, either, just because I don't like it (except for ice cream once in awhile). Haven't seen a doctor for almost 4 years. Got sick a couple of years ago with the flu, I think, but I survived on my own. Haven't been sick since except for some pollen allergies. I think if you make your brain happy at least once a day, it helps your well-being.

    • profile image


      4 years ago

      Great hub, Vlad. Just sitting here and realising I actually enjoyed that follow-up colonoscopy and gastroscopy 2 weeks ago! And the staff are so friendly, when they bring the packet of sandwiches and wonderful cup of tea. At 75, to be told it's all looking fine, and it might be good to recheck in 5 years time, but you will be 80 then, so ...err.... We'll think about it when the time comes....

      I feel in fine fettle, apart from the fact that hill gets steeper every time I walk up it; and some adults at the age of 60 actually look up to me as their elder!!!! Just bought myself a little fold-up bicycle. A bit wobbly at first, and the brake handles are a bit short, giving too little leverage...but I can cope. Bought a good helmet, to save the remaining brain cells from damage, hopefully. And a Hi-Viz orange vest, so those roller skating youngsters can see me coming and think, "Gee, there's that Ol' geyser that hobbles up the hill with his walking stick sometime."

      Life is fun. Teaching a youngster about maths is refreshing my brain, too. Not sure which country I'll visit next. Maybe South America.

      Keep writing, Vlad. You do it well!

    • Larry Rankin profile image

      Larry Rankin 

      4 years ago from Oklahoma

      Marvelous take on the human condition.

    • ValKaras profile imageAUTHOR

      Val Karas 

      4 years ago from Canada

      Say Yes To Life - Oh, Hawaii!!! I have been there only once so far, but dreamt about them all my life. There is some magic in that ambient that made those kahunas so smart. It's easy for me to imagine folks there being able to endure that Ironman marathon. It's absolutely amazing, and thank you so much for sharing about that proof of human potential ! - Mahalo, and Aloha!

    • ValKaras profile imageAUTHOR

      Val Karas 

      4 years ago from Canada

      MizBejabbers - That pessimist whom you mentioned just said something that he is good at - pessimism. To my understanding, "good people go first" because they are too compliant and likely eating themselves inside for not having enough brain muscle to assert themselves when others take advantage of them or put them down. "Niceness" is sometimes a passive defense mechanism of such folks. So they go first because inner pressures do a number on their health, while having no healthy channels to escape.

      To my knowledge that I got from dr. Seille back in 70's (I hope I got right the name of that expert about stress), there is stress and there is distress. Stress is good, like in sports, sex, games, challenges, work (that we like doing), weddings...etc. It's distress that's killing us, while negative energies are accumulating in organ systems and disrupting natural harmony in functioning.

      Congratulations on your excellent health and vitality, MizB!!! Enjoy your mature and wise age with your positive attitude! I'll keep doing my best as well.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 

      4 years ago from The Caribbean

      " Remember those lo-o-o-ng hours at work, year after year?" That alone makes me want to celebrate every year past that. Cheers on your accepting attitude. Stay young for as long as possible!

    • Say Yes To Life profile image

      Yoleen Lucas 

      4 years ago from Big Island of Hawaii

      Thank you SO MUCH for this article!

      I'd like to add a few points. What people don't tell you about getting older is that 1) your physical endurance peaks at age 40. That is the time to climb Mt. Everest, not when you're 25. Check out pictures of Sirs Edmund Hillary (age 25) and Tensing Norgay (age 39, almost 40); who came out of the experience in better shape? Let me add that Hillary packed on a ton of weight afterwards; that is because he lost muscle mass, thus slowing his metabolism. 2) As you grow older, you grow wiser (unless you foolishly blow your mind on drugs, or are too lazy to maintain it through constant learning). I wonder if that's the real reason people put down elders; because they're too shrewd to fall for being ripped off. I'm 56, and can tell you some funny stories about telemarketers who tried to rob me blind. 3) How long you maintain your peak performance, both physically and mentally, depends on how well you take care of yourself. Treat a healthy lifestyle as a priviledge, not a chore. Here in Hawaii, you have people past 80 doing the Ironman marathon. That consists of swimming 2.4 miles, cycling 112 miles, and running 26 miles in 18 hours under the scorching Kona sun. How many of you younger people can do even one of those things???

    • MizBejabbers profile image

      Doris James MizBejabbers 

      4 years ago from Beautiful South

      Remember the song “Only the Good Die Young?” I recently heard an old pessimist who is in poor health say that there was a reason for the good dying young, it was to reward them with not having to go through old age. You have some truisms in this article.

      The turning old overnight that you mention runs in my late aunt’s ex husband’s family, so I’ve seen my family experience it. I started turning gray at age 14 just through genetics and I love my hair. I’m very good at my career and am still working at it, and I realize that I’m at my best when it becomes the most stressful. So a person doesn’t have to give in to stress. Or, as I’ve heard some say, “there’s good stress and bad stress,” but I wouldn’t know about that. Despite the fact that I’ll be 74 this month, I have fewer wrinkles than the average 39 year old. Enjoy your wrinkles, Vlad, and I’ll enjoy my cotton candy hair! You’re right, it’s all in the attitude.


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