Mind Matters

How Old Are You?

 “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!

Image: Pixabay

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?

A Single Mother with an unbreakable passion to Live the Life! I am a Writer/Author by passion and an IT Project Manager by profession. I am also the voice of Artemis at In The Pantheon - a multi-author collaborative writing project. When not hunting as Artemis, I am busy querying agents and working on my multiple writing projects. Women Empowerment and Child Rights Advocate.


  • oneta hayes

    Interesting question you raise. Whether one RUNS his life or LIVES it? That should not be confused with what might be termed “youthful” acts, however. A forty year old who still “drags main street” to appear young is to be pitied. You are a woman of achievements, something an eighteen year old has not had time for yet. I see your effects every day – stirring up new thoughts and encouraging others. 😀

    • MindandLifeMatters

      Thank you for that thoughtful comment, Oneta. “Youthful” acts should probably be something that comes from the inside rather than the outside/physical, then it may not look bad even if older people attempt it 🙂

  • Arcane Owl

    Douglas McArthur quote says it all. Thanks for sharing. I feel growing up to be very boring and indeed scary. Death can visit you at any stage of your life. The scariest part old age is deterioration of health which make you more dependent on others. It is boring since life gets too mechanical – you need to think of ways to rejuvenate yourself. A child is always in awe and full of wonder whereas a grown has this sense know-it-all and seen-it-all.
    Have a great day!
    ~Arcane Owl

  • Barbara Meyers

    It can be very difficult to live in the moment. With age comes experience and supposedly wisdom. As someone who has lived more of her life than she has left to live, it comes down to realizing YOU can do whatever you want. Those choices are yours. And with that comes a certain level of freedom you don’t have at a younger age. The great thing about writing is you can do it at any age. Throw the perfection concept out the window, though. With humans there’s no such thing!

  • ranu802

    Dear Rashmi,
    Thank you for this quote and your thoughtful post. There are times one may feel old even though they are not. One cannot or should not think there’s nothing left to achieve. There is so much more one can do. You’ve written a book already, publishing and marketing is something every writer has to face, the more positive one is ,better are the chances to succeed.I’m not here to give advice,I’m trying to make you feel better.
    As for me I feel I’ll do as much as I can, if I get bored I might look for something else.Right now writing is giving me a lot of pleasure. 🙂

    • MindandLifeMatters

      Hi Ranu, thank you for the comment, it does help. I am glad writing has been giving you a lot of pleasure. Writing has been working well for me too, I hope to be able do all that I must to get my book published 🙂

  • pranabaxom

    Every journey is a process. We should enjoy the process instead of thinking about success or failure or work involved in the process. Enjoy the process of publishing your book. All the best.

  • Megha Agrawal

    I believe “mann ke haare haar hai maan ke jeete jeet” meaning its all in your mind. If you believe you have won you have actually won while if you think you have lost you have actually lost. So age is a state of mind for me. Dream big you have talent and got lot to achieve.

  • Nicodemas

    WOw! This is so powerful. Thank you for this. You’re right our internal self does not have to give in to a sense of oldness. Even if our bodies wear out it is better than the alternative. And what fear do I have? My wife dying, but I am conquering that day by day. Peace.

  • Nena

    So powerful! I fear not being able to fulfill all the desires of my heart. I often feel like there is not enough time and life is too short. But that leads to running my life instead of living it so in my case I need to slow down and take pleasure in the small things before my life just scrolls on by. Thank you for this amazing reminder!

  • robertmgoldstein

    Especially like the quote at the top…
    If you manage to raise a child into a healthy and productive adulthood then you will have accomplished one of the most difficult of achievements….I respect anyone who takes on the challenge of parenting….

      • robertmgoldstein

        Yep…I credit my grandmother for giving me a sense of right and wrong…I have always agreed with the premise that it rakes a village to raise a child.
        Respect for life starts with respect for the decision to bring a life into this world….thank you for your reply…

      • Chandran Menon

        yes… I credit my wife who has done a commendable job in raising our children healthy, productive, modern yet clutching on to our cultural values. respects and salute to my sweet heart(my wife).
        and yeh, I like what you wrote and I like reading your articles. well written, keep writing.

  • whatsandrathinks

    I am not a fan of growing old either… And I’m already kind of old… (nope, not telling!) I often feel like it’s to late for me to do certain things. And like you said… some things seem tiresome and I’m too old to do them!
    So… I also tend to focus on helping my children make good choices and grow into healthy, happy adults.

  • Meritings

    As a young man I always imagined I would never reach the age of 40 which, let’s face it, is absolutely ancient! At the age of 40 I started riding lessons, together with another 40 year old. At the age of 55 I started piano lessons and bought an electronic piano. When I retired at age 64 I bought an electric guitar and electronic violin. They didn’t last but I enjoyed the trying! Reaching 68, tomorrow, I still feel young at heart although some body parts tell me otherwise sometimes! My Mum and Dad, in their 80’s, helped out with the “old folk”, some of whom were 20 years younger. Believe me, Rashmi, you have already left a better legacy than a lot of people achieve in a lifetime. You have made another human being, you have made people laugh, smile, cry, and you have the lasting love of family. Smile, live long and prosper and, as another well known blogger would say, Love and light!

    • MindandLifeMatters

      Peter – first of all – Happy Birthday in advance! 🙂
      I cant thank you enough for your comment, that is just what I needed to hear. I have always wanted to take piano lessons and some other classes, but never started on it coz of two things. 1. I think I am too old to take classes now and 2. I feel guilty of taking time out for myself.
      But after reading your comment, I am convinced that the age factor should never be a hindrance to what we want to do!
      Thank you for all the kind words and the encouragement.

  • Darcy Alexander Shillingford

    Sounds like your mind is not getting that old after all. I think people at every age experience that lapse in drive. Anytime I feel that way I just remind myself of the cyclical nature (at least for me) of our sense of purpose. When weve grown up in a world where the bare necessities needn’t much of a second thought, we have more room in our heads to consider matters beyond them. Thanks for the read, I appreciate you sharing your thoughts!

  • Indira

    You know Rashmi, half of our life we run it as if in a daze then when we realize and start living it it’s late. Thank God that you realize it so early. Once you become aware of it,you cannot go back running it. It’s very positive sign. You express beautifully.

  • luckyjc007

    To me, age is just a number. We should do whatever we want to do if we are capable of doing it. It’s a known fact that staying active keeps your body and mind in shape. I live in a retirement community and there are all kinds of activities we do….pickle ball, baseball, basketball, running, walking tennis, biking,line dancing, rhythm and blues dancing, even horseback riding and other very active things. People do not have to sit back and do nothing just because they are elderly and have wrinkles. 😊

    • MindandLifeMatters

      That’s great! It is very important to remain active. My problem was not with physical activity, just the way my thought process was working…that was what was getting too much for me to handle. But I guess, with more physical activity, even our minds get active!
      Thank you for a thoughtful comment! 🙂

  • Jahnavi Chintakunta

    Inspiring and intriguing post, Rashmi. Sometimes, I too feel that I have ‘been there, done that and what else is new?’. During those times, I read new books , cook new recipes and do shopping 🙂 As you said, we have to consciously try to recreate our life . Otherwise everyday will be as the previous day : As shown in ‘Groundhog day’ movie.

  • Anand

    QSM is my way of staying young. It makes me work a lot harder than I would if I just let it go, but I don’t, because it makes me feel more alive and energetic.

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