"The idea is to die young, as late as possible."
-Random meme found on Facebook
I believe that there is a difference between growing up and growing old. I think that you can be both crazy and mature. Maturity is nothing more than making the right decisions when it matters most--that is all that growing up entails. Growing up comes with life experiences as they teach you how to live. Growing up doesn't mean losing your sense of humor or sight of your passions, growing up doesn't require that you find yourself stuck in the past.
That's growing old.
Sometimes, I think we get it backwards. We feel like it requires a conscious effort to grow up, as if it won't happen unless we create it. And we think that growing old won't affect us until later in life, or that it won't at all. But take a look at yourself: when was the last time you ran around the yard playing imagination games, just for the fun of it? When did you stop fearing that you would miss out on something of grand excitement by taking a nap or going to bed? When did learning become a chore?
Just as growing up has a way of happening upon us, so does growing old. It catches you by surprise. In fact, most of the time we don't notice its effects because everyone around you is doing the same. We don't see the distinction between the two.
I am here to say that age and experience do not mean that you suddenly have to let go of things in life. Choosing to continue to live, rather than simply survive, certainly goes against the path of least resistance. But it's worth it. My grandma is currently training for her 21st half-marathon. And you know what? She is living. And she has something to live for.
I think that's the key. We avoid the effects of growing old by giving ourselves something to live for--something that we have a passion for, something that you would give other things up to have. And then we have to remember that we live for that thing. That, though it requires energy and sacrifice, it is far more rewarding than the things that you let go.
I may only be 19 years old, and I know I have a lot of growing up to do. But I think if I start fighting growing old now, I can nip it in the bud. I can spend my time on this earth filled with purpose and life and love. I can die young, no matter how late it happens.
Who's with me?
Conference Weekly last week here.
This week here.