Was in Bhopal a few months ago conducting a workshop on writing and public speaking, and having an extra day before heading home, was offered a sightseeing trip by a few students. There was a lot of Bhopal to be seen and I must have whispered, “I’m getting old,” once too often when Navya said, “Stop thinking that way Bob. It’s all in the mind!”

It was a few days later, I chanced to read General Douglas Mac Arthur on ageing:

‘Youth is not entirely a time of life; it is a state of mind. It is not wholly a matter of ripe cheeks, red lips, or supple knees. It is a temper of the will, a quality of the imagination, a vigour of the emotions, a freshness of the deep springs of life. It means a temperamental predominance of courage over timidity, of an appetite for adventure over love of ease.

Nobody grows old by merely living a number of years. People grow old only by deserting their ideals. Years may wrinkle the skin, but to give up interest wrinkles the soul!

Worry, doubt, self- distrust, fear and despair…these are the long, long years that bow the head and turn the growing spirit back to dust.

Whatever your years, there is in every being’s heart the love of wonder, the undaunted challenge of events, the unfailing childlike appetite for ‘what next,’ and the joy and the game of life.

You are as young as your faith, as old as your doubt.

As young as your self- confidence, as old as your fear.

As young as your hope, as old as your despair.

In the central place of your heart there is a recording chamber; so long as it receives messages of beauty, hope, cheer and courage, so long you are young!

When the wires are all down and your heart is covered with the hope of pessimism and the ice of cynicism, then and only then are you grown old!’

Ah General McArthur you sure put life back into my weary legs.

A woman asked Robertson McQuilkin, “Why does God allow us to get old?” Robertson replied, “I think God has planned the strength and beauty of youth to be physical, but the strength and beauty when growing older is spiritual. We gradually lose the strength and beauty that is temporary so that we’ll be able to concentrate on the strength and beauty that is forever!”

I like those words, and that of MacArthur, but more so the student who uttered those words, as I found out she was a cancer survivor. Well, she sure knew what she was saying, yes Navya I’m listening!

So it’s a different strength and beauty we should be building as we get older, a strength that will give us a spring in our limbs and a beauty that will glow, yes, springing from a spirituality within...!

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.