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The Right Sort of Thinking Can Keep You Young All Your Life

Updated on April 21, 2013

The Old Gasworks Bridge at Parramatta, New South Wales

Walking for pleasure. I go for a stroll

Mid-afternoon on a beautiful autumn day in Sydney and I decide to go for a stroll. As happens so often, my footsteps lead me down to the nearby Parramatta River which flows through this city-within-a- city. I traverse the wooden walk-way beneath the Lennox Bridge and head back, my intention being to re-cross at the weir further downstream, when an elderly woman timidly approaches me. At least, she looks elderly. She asks if I know a way back to where she has come from, a way that will exclude a long climb up a steep flight of some sixty concrete steps to the streets above. That is where she’d come from, she tells me.

All Saints Church in Parramatta

How old is old? I think attitude plays a big part in our interpretation of that

We chat a while whilst I describe the various ways she can get back across the river and up to the housing unit she has come from without having to ascend those formidable steps. Obviously, she is not familiar with the area. During the conversation it becomes clear to me that she is the same age as me – and I don’t see that as old.

“I’m nearly eighty you know.”

“Well, I’m not far off that. I’m seventy-seven.”

“Yes, that’s my age, too.”

Her attitude was determined by her habitual thinking

She is seventy-seven, as I am. So why does she seem so old?

As we speak the reason becomes clear. It is her attitude. This lady has an ‘old attitude.’ “Oh, my good years are behind me now.” Then, “You know, when I was young I played hockey for my country.” There is weariness about her. It shows not only in her stance but in a haggard face in which eyes seem to plead for deeper communication. She does indeed have an aura of depression and hopelessness about her which, I suspect, is self-created by her habitual thinking. Perhpas all depression is caused that way, I think.

Why did she see herself as old and 'beyond it?'

Eventually, after my describing the various ways she can get back home without having to climb those steps, she decides that it would be far less complicated and more expedient to go home the way she has come, namely: up those steep steps. So, in order to see she makes it okay, I decide to accompany her.

To cut the story short, we both made it to the top without a pause and she was not even puffing. So it would seem that she was talking herself into this feeling of being old and having little stamina. It was self-induced. She certainly made it up those steps easily enough.

I left her then for she was not far from home. But on walking to my own home I could not help thinking how this woman, who looked to be normal and healthy except for her demeanor, could be so ‘down.’ Why did she see herself this way? Why was she ‘writing herself off?’

Part of a burgeoning metropolis in Sydney's Parramatta

Our life philosophy plays such a big part in our aging

Of course, I don’t know her life story and her present circumstances. Still, it set me to thinking about how one’s personal attitude, based on one’s life philosophy, plays such a big part in whether or not we appear younger than our years to others – and inside, to ourselves. So what is my own philosophy? For I feel young and believe myself – unless something ‘untoward’ unexpectedly occurs – to have plenty of adventures and activities left in me yet. I suspect perhaps it is caused by this:

A passage in a book read forty years ago made such a difference

About forty years ago I read a passage in a book which made a big difference in my life. Its significance was not lost on me for it all made so much sense. I don’t know the exact words now but it went something like this: “Every talent, every quality, every value we have we earn by dint of hard application and experience across our many lives.” The person making that statement was obviously a believer in Reincarnation. It is a philosophy which makes a lot of sense to me. It says that inherent skills and talents are not ‘gifts’ handed out willy-nilly by a dice-shake of a gene pool. Rather, they are earned by practices honed during a previous life – perhaps dozens of lifetimes.

Parramatta River between the two weirs

Everything we do is registered, nothing is wasted

So the obvious outcome of such a belief (no, I can’t swear to it being true, but it is true enough for me to base my life’s actions around it) is that everything I do right up until the time I leave Planet Earth, is both meaningful and purposeful - for nothing is wasted. The physical body reaches a stage where it can no longer hold the life form within it but the essence of that life form along with the fundamentals, at least, of what has been gained, learned, accomplished, goes with the soul into the next dimension. Indeed, these comprise what is precious to our soul.

With a positive attitude we go on learning, expanding, growing

With such a positive attitude we can go forward right throughout life feeling that even though we might not have the physical stamina of old, we’re still learning, expanding, growing, and that what is learned will be carried forth and available, not only in whatever level of heaven we’ve earned the right to go to, but that we will bring these attributes back with us the next time we descend into Planet Earth for another round.

So what am I saying here to you the reader?

The city within a city which I call home - Parramatta, NSW

Adopt a philosophy of life suitable to your understanding

Work on finding out what you are to the point where you can come up with a philosophy of life suitable to your understanding. Discover one that you can at least accept to the point where you’re willing to keep an open mind on it. Consider beliefs that present you with happiness on the journey of life, not ones that get you down. Accept into your life concepts that bring you joy. It doesn’t matter if you’re not absolutely sure of the verity of your ‘working hypothesis’ of life so long as the working is not odious. Forget hell-fire and damnation. It isn’t helpful. Rather, evoke only pleasant imaginings about your future. Think of yourself as a being without end, an immortal. Feel yourself to be a ‘god in the making.’

A Riverview of Part of Parramatta, looking west from the Gasworks Bridge

Don't say, "I'm too old," for your subconscious will accept that and you WILL be too old

Don’t say, “I’m too old. Or “I don’t have the energy or motivation anymore.” Your subconscious mind will accept what you say and you will become old before your time. Think of yourself as an immortal being having an Earth-plane existence, and see how your life pans out with those sorts of thoughts in your mind. Accept the fact that your happiness depends on what you think and feel, on what you believe. Remember those wise words: I am the captain of my ship, the master of my soul.” And believe yourself to be on a wonderful journey which will last forever.


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  • Tusitala Tom profile image

    Tom Ware 4 years ago from Sydney, Australia

    Thanks, Pennypines, and I'll read that Hub.

  • Pennypines profile image

    Lucille Apcar 4 years ago from Mariposa, California, U.S.A.

    I think modern science and modern attitudes towards aging have a great deal to do with longevity and productivity especially where women are concerned. Yet the puzzle exists: why are so many people warehoused into nursing homes when they need help with every day activities?

    I recommend you read my Hub called "Senior Moments" it may be revealing. I hope so.