We Grow Old by Deserting Our Ideals
By Samuel Ullman 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 quick equivalents of the long years that bow the head and turn the growing spirit back to dust. Whether 70 or 16, there is, in every being’s heart, the love of wonder, the sweet amazement of the stars, and the star-like things and thoughts, the undaunted challenge of events, the unfailing childlike appetite for “What Next?” 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. So long as your heart receives messages of beauty, cheer, courage, grandeur and power from the earth, from man and from the Infinite, so long are you young. When all the wires are down, and all the central places of your heart are covered with the snows of pessimism and the ice of cynicism, then, and only then, are you grown old indeed, and may God have mercy on your soul.