How to Stay Young? Expand Your Social Circle
Get-It Done Guy reveals his secret to staying young at heart (and mind): as you get older, find ways to ensure you have new friends coming into your life.
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The secret to aging well is keeping your mind young. Your body, sadly, is a lost cause. If you've seen my picture, I know you're thinking I'm 22 or 23, with my rippling, manly-man body, sparkling, wavy hair, and seemingly endless energy. What you don't see is the two hours a day I spend pasting on prosthetics, outlining my abs lightly with an eyebrow pencil, drinking a gallon of caffeine for energy, and working out to go from "shlumpy" to "fit."
The scariest thing about aging isn't my looming mortality (which is terrifying), but seeing how so many people let life go by wasted. Some people give up early, by their late-30s or mid-40s. They have few friends, and their conversations consist of rehashing the same old complaints they've had since college.
They might get worked up about politics for a few minutes, even though they never both to inform themselves about in any substantive way. They'll break up the monotony by shrieking the talking points from their regular propaganda outlet for a few minutes, before settling back into their dormant stupor. On a good day, they may also complain about their latest medical procedure, or their dead-end job.
The idea of turning into that...terrifies me. So here are 6 ways to keep that from happening:
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Spend Time with a Wide Range of Ages
My friend Frances Hesselbein is older than I am. She's near the end of her first century. But she's still optimistic, forward-looking, and starting new initiatives.
Now it's true, she isn't doing quite as much as she did when she was CEO of the Girl Scouts and grew them to a million members, or when she designed the U.S. Army's leadership training, or when she was named the Best CEO of the 20th century by Peter Drucker. Now, she uses her time more modestly: last year she finished a teaching stint at West Point, and then helped a school in the Bronx start a campaign to build a library, which they'd never had.
Frances is involved. What's amazing about her is how engaged she is in her life. At an age when most people are, well, dead, she's not just alive, but also active. It seems to me that part of how she stays that way is her ongoing work with promising young people.