Thursday, February 7, 2013

Two Ways to Feel Young Again

I had another one of those dreams last night. You know the kind—something falls off or falls out at the worst moment.
          In this case, I was to preside over a funeral in my hometown. Folks I’d grown up with would be attending, folks I hadn’t seen since we attended high school.
          I stood in a public restroom to run a comb through my hair just one more time. One stroke later I looked like SethGodin.
          I read this stat in AARP’s November magazine issue: “51% of Americans think they look younger than their age.” I’m not one of them. My wife Ellen should be but isn’t.
          The I’m-older-than-I-look delusion died four years ago when I ordered coffee and got the senior discount without asking. I told the cashier, “I’m 54.”
          She shrugged and gave me my change.
          Despite aging’s obvious advances, I’ve discovered some things that help me live a more youthful life.
          Losing weight. For over two decades, my driver’s license lied. It said, “Weight 175 pounds.”
          Until two years ago, I weighed closer to 200 pounds. Then I got serious about losing the extra weight. I tracked my exercise and calories on and experienced the amazing benefits of a lighter me.
          I slept better—no acid reflux.
          My wife slept better—no more snoring husband.
          My cholesterol went down. My energy went up.
          Just this week, someone who hadn’t seen me for a while asked, “Have you lost weight?”
          I may still look old, but I sure feel younger.
          Laugh. Children laugh about a million times a day (the exact figure may vary from child to child). We adults top out at about three chuckles (in a good week).
          You don’t need a “laugh out loud” movie, the funny papers, or a hilarious read to experience the benefits of laughter. Just laugh.
          While driving, I’ve forced myself to laugh. While home alone (well, the dog doesn’t count), I’ve forced myself to laugh. On one occasion, I forced myself to laugh with my wife listening in another room. She said, “You sound demented.”
          Demented or not, a funny thing happens when you fake laughter. Eventually it becomes genuine. Real or fake, laughter elevates your mood and benefits your body in positive ways.
          By the way, my family and I flew in a jam-packed, smoking-in-the-back Aeroflot flight to the Russian Far East. My sister-in-law gave me The Last Days of Summer to read on the plane. I laughed until I cried. Ellen sat in another row and acted as if she didn’t know me.
          I’m curious. What are some things that have helped you remain youthful? Any hilarious books or movies you’d recommend?


T. Neal Tarver, a native Texan living in Wisconsin, has served churches in Texas and Wisconsin. He, his wife Ellen, and son Daniel lived and worked for three years as missionaries in the Russian Far East. Tom speaks enough Russian to both converse and confuse.

In 2011, Tom was selected as a semi-finalist in the American Christian Fiction Writers’ Genesis contest. He’s also been a two-time winner of MBT’s “Make Every Word Count Flash Fiction” contest. His debut novel, Dark Eyes, Deep Eyes, is available through WestBow Press, Amazon, BARNES & NOBLE, and other retail outlets.

He currently writes from his home in Richland Center, Wisconsin, or from wherever his travels take him. He posts articles weekly at A Curious Band of Others.

Tom has spoken in churches across America, and in Europe, Asia, and the Middle East


H L Wegley said...

Good advice, Tom. From one who has 14 1/2 years on you.

Carol McClain said...

You make me laugh (in a good way). I did follow your steps on lose it and then gained it. Sigh. Time for a do-over.
I used to try the laughing thing. Do smile when I don't feel like it. Do you realize, if you smile, you can't make yourself sound mean?
Good post.

................................ Kevin Parsons said...

Tom, I like to be silly with the grandkids to feel younger and get down on the ground with them. That and sing stupid songs.

TNeal said...

Carol, I heard that about smiling. If you answer the phone with a smile, you sound pleasant to the caller. I've tried that when talking with Ellen on the phone. I notice my attitude is more open, receptive, and absent of irritation.

TNeal said...

Kevin, belting out silly songs in the car definitely puts sunshine in my heart no matter what the weather is outside. Time with small children also seems to brighten the day.

TNeal said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
TNeal said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Linda Robinson said...

Tom, this was LOL funny. Loved it. I checked out and left my email on your site, A Curious Band of Others. :)

TNeal said...

Thanks, Linda R. I appreciate the encouraging words.