Youth is a state of mind
Youth is beauty. If you're young, you're beautiful. Even if you don't have talent, the older folks will forgive you because you are young and beautiful.
That was the simple state of my mind when I thought about age. Like all women, I fear getting old, especially becoming old, stupid, fat, ugly, and worst of all, unwanted.
When my father showed me some of his 24 books, all of which are now out of print, I chose the short essay "Youth" by Samuel Ullman to read. My dad had selected his favourite essays, analysed and translated them for university or post-graduate students in Taiwan.
This essay gave me hope, which I'd like to share with all my readers.
Youth by Samuel Ullman
Youth is not a time of life --- it is a state of mind. It is not a matter of ripe cheeks, red lips and supple knees. It is a temper of the will, a quality of the imagination, a vigor of the emotions. It is a freshness of the deep spring of life.
Youth means a temperamental predominance of courage over timidity, of the appetite of adventure over love of ease. This often exists in a man of fifty more than a boy of twenty.
Nobody grows old by merely living a number of years. People grow old only by deserting their ideals. Years wrinkle the skin, but to give up enthusiasm wrinkles the soul. Worry, doubt, self-distrust, fear, and despair--- these are the long, long years that bow the head and turn the spirit back to the dust.
Whether seventy or sixteen, there is in every being's heart the love of wonder, the sweet amazement at the stars and the starlike things and thoughts, the undaunted challenge of events, the unfailing childlike appetite for what next and they joy and the game of life.
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.
14 April 2004 Wednesday
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Reaction to this piece: Thank you Anne. It is so beautiful, I almost started crying. I'll print it out and give it to my dad, your personal writing included if you don't mind. It will make him feel good, I'm sure.