Her hair was white. Her cheeks, though pink, were covered with wrinkles, a network of deep, crisscrossed lines. The little girl who came to see her pondered all this, then asked gravely, “Are you an old lady?” Slow to respond but with a once quick mind, she said, “No, honey.” Her eyes, still bright with an unquenchable spirit, held a twinkle. “Not exactly. But I must say, honey, that I’ve been young for a mighty long time.” This story came to my mind from somewhere out there.
It’s hard to grow old. I might better say it’s hard to grow older. But I think it’s even harder to grow up. There’s no way of stopping the inevitable slowing down of the bodily processes. Happily for all of us, though, while we lose the outward signs of our youth, it is possible to retain forever that same buoyant, hopeful spirit that filled our earlier lives.
There is a time in our lives when sheer drive and energy or physical attractiveness overshadows such foul traits as selfishness, irritability, or an insistence on dominating others. When that youthful drive or loveliness of youth is gone, those unpleasant traits have a way of standing out with startling clarity.
It is wise to stop and take stock of ourselves before too many years pass, while there is still time enough to correct those offensive tendencies in our character that we have managed to gloss over with our youth. If not remedied early on, they could cause real unhappiness later. We need to cultivate generosity, kindness, unselfishness, sympathy, and tolerance. We need an appreciation of the value of every person as an individual, and we need to develop a tolerance for letting others think and feel differently than we do. These are the qualities of mind and heart that will enrich the passing of the years. Without them, we invite a sad, embittered loneliness in our later years.
Most people who age before their time do so … not because of stiffening joints or muscles, but because of stiffening minds, which become rigid and intolerant. As long as the mind remains alert, flexible, tolerant, and not dominated by hatred and resentment, it can function at peak efficiency for many years. And [remember] the old saying, which goes something like this: “Grow old with me … for the best is yet to be.”
What advice would you like to give to the younger generations?
We call on all of our readers to share the timeless values that define right and wrong, and pass the torch, if you will, through your wisdom and hard-earned experience. We feel that the passing down of this wisdom has diminished over time, and that only with a strong moral foundation can future generations thrive.
Send your advice, along with your full name, state, and contact information to NextGeneration@epochtimes.com or mail it to: Next Generation, The Epoch Times, 229 W. 28th St., Floor 7, New York, NY 10001