“People grow old only by deserting their ideals, Macarthur had written. Years may wrinkle the skin, but to give up interest wrinkles the soul. 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 every heart there is a recording chamber. So long as it receives messages of beauty, hope, cheer and courage, so long are you young. When your heart is covered with the snows of pessimism and the ice of cynicism, then, and then only, are you grown old. And then, indeed as the ballad says, you just fade away.” – Douglas McArthur
Everyone has something that they fear, something that gives them sleepless nights whenever they think about it. In the last few days I have realized what my biggest fear is? No, it’s not some species of insect that every girl is known to be afraid of! Surprisingly, I have just realized I am afraid of growing old! Oh no, don’t get me wrong! Before you judge me let me clarify, when I say growing old I don’t mean physically, I mean the process of ageing in your head or in your mind!
Although, the quote above from McArthur expounds why the process of growing old in the mind is not really a good thing for you, I will take this moment to elaborate and explain why it is fearsome to me in particular. You see, I think that I have already started the process of ageing in my mind!!
I say this because I find myself talking as though my life is almost over and I have nothing ahead of me. No, not that I am turning into a negative person or falling back into depression. What I am trying to say here is that I feel like there is nothing much I have to strive to achieve. I know I want my little one to grow up into a successful young man, and just like every other parent out there I am rooting for my son! But other than that what is it that I want to achieve?
At this point, honestly I don’t know! I enjoy writing and have been working on a book which is almost (about 95%) completed. However, most of the time I feel I should just keep it to myself and not publish it. I am not hesitant because I am afraid of incurring the wrath of the readers in the form of reviews, I am hesistant only because I find the whole ‘job’ of getting the book published and then work on marketing it too tiresome. You see, I am acting like I am too old to work so hard.
When I thought about it for a while I realized that maybe I am feeling the way I do because I have been so involved in trying to run my life and take it to the level of ‘PERFECTION’ that I always wanted to attain that I almost forgot about all that I was ignoring or leaving behind! When I think about it, I see that I had started to ‘RUN’ my life and not exactly ‘‘LIVE’’it! But why? Why am I choosing to run it over trying to live it? What makes me feel that I will attain perfection only then?
The answer lies in the quote I wrote in the beginning of this post: I was probably deserting my ideals or giving up my interest in what really matters to me! Maybe the recording chamber in my heart was forgetting to record all the hopes, dreams, faith and courage that was once an integral part of me. Maybe it was!
And maybe all that is required is for me to stop and take a respite and reevaluate my ideas of perfection. Open my heart to the hopes and dreams that have led me so far. Stop running my life and live each day as it comes. Maybe it was time for me to get back into the crazy world with an open mind, and as Robin Sharma once said ‘indulge myself in the pleasures of a youthful life’ that still is very much mine!
In other words, what I realized from a simple quote is that there is always a fountain of youth; it is in your mind, your talents, the creativity you bring to your life and the lives of people you love. When you learn to tap this source, you will truly have defeated age!
What about you? What is your biggest fear? Does the idea of growing old scare you?