What a negative connotation society has placed on this word, and what a beautiful thing it can be. Since you won’t listen to your mom, maybe you’ll take some advice from me, a young body with an old soul.
After watching my grandmother go blind from her macular degeneration from not wearing sunglasses when she was my age, or my mom lifting her temples to create a false face lift from not wearing sunscreen as a teenager in California, I’ve decided that there are some ways I can prevent getting older in every aspect: physically, spiritually, and mentally.
So here it goes; the 21-year-old’s guide to aging gracefully.
It takes 21 days to make or break a habit.
Maybe you’ve always wanted to try eating vegan? Start today. By day 21 you’ll be putting pinto beans on a salad instead of chicken, and liking it. This is the only piece of credible advice I’ve gotten from a doctor. As for the rest of the advice, you can just take my word for it.
Ask grandpa the war stories now.
Be open to the indisputable truths of life. We aren’t going to all be here forever, and mom, dad and great-grandma are going to be here shorter than you’d like.
Find some sort of faith.
I’m not telling you what to believe or how you should worship, but I’m telling you, believe in something. Time to yourself to ponder the world is what sets you free from the crap that can sometimes be called daily life.
Learn something new every day. This is as easy as picking up a newspaper.
Put down the iPhone at dinner.
I don’t care if it’s with your best friend and you’re eating on a picnic blanket, it’s just rude. In fact, take one day where you just don’t use the iPhone. What an equal blessing and curse technology has been in our generation. Stand out from the rest and try to check your phone only 50 times a day, not 75.
Go places and be different than everybody else.
A great mom put it the best when she once told me, “Go away and get educated. Come back to the South because you want to, not because you never left.”
Live in the moment.
Quit worrying so much! It may sound cliché, but the problems we face are far more menial than most of the world out there. Tomorrow’s going to come, no matter how bad today was.
You try your hardest not to break someone’s heart, why should you settle for someone who breaks yours?
Just once, go to Ms. Velda’s $5 palm reading with a girlfriend.
If anything, it will get you in a good mood. Let’s be honest, we all know she won’t tell you you’ll get fat when you’re older.
People in your life will come and go as you get older, but find a few relationships and work at them.
Those people in your life that you feel smarter around? Stay around them. It may not always be easy to call an old college friend in 5 years, but make the effort.
Deflect gossip and jealousy.
Let it just roll off your back like you’re wearing a repellant. Where have you ever gotten with gossip? It may be hard to be the bigger man all the time, but take the high road, and make it a habit.
Don’t let all your friends getting married at 22 scare you into a marriage you aren’t ready for.
Let them get married now. You have the rest of your life to be married to someone. Maybe you’ll be married for 60 years. Maybe you’ll get divorced. Either way, you’re going to have some fun bachelorette parties.
Take vitamins. Wear sunscreen on your face, neck and hands. Workout. Don’t smoke.
When you’re 50 and look 35, you’ll thank yourself.
Don’t let the day come where you say, I wish I’d done that.
Go do it, whatever it is! Is it study abroad in college? Save up your miles, go to Spain.
And finally, embrace getting older. Don’t fear the real world, no matter how old you are. You may be 40 and don’t know what you want to do with your life yet. Thrive on that.
Travel light. Live light. Share the light. Be the light.
Don’t let getting older make you old.