THE BLOG
09/24/2014 10:59 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

How to Age Well, Emotionally

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Do you feel like you've lost your youthful glow? Is your life becoming routine and well -- just blah?

You're not alone. American author and humorist Mark Twain once wrote: "Wrinkles merely mark where smiles have been."

That's all fine and dandy, but in today's world, wrinkling is only one sign of youth fading away from our faces. While most of us run around wistfully chasing away the inevitable aging clock, we don't have to look far to find the many bitter, crabby aging people amongst us.

Is this where we're heading?

Here's a surprising 411: Our birth date has nothing to do with why we lose our glow and zest for life. Getting old has everything to do with how we react to what life throws our way.

Have you noticed how amicable (for the most part) teenagers are when you bump into one? They'll apologize first or laugh it off as "no worries."

Tell a teenager you're in a mad rush at the store as you beg to cut in line and you'll more often than not be met with: Sure, go ahead. Try this with an adult and chances are you'll get: Sorry, I'm in a hurry too.

Young adults smile back when you make eye contact, laugh off the little things in life and continue on with their dreams regardless of how many times you tell them it's a crazy idea. And you know what? They glow with youthful exuberance.

So what happens to the rest of us?

When I first arrived in Colorado, I was 23 years old and had an apartment with what I considered to be a view of the mountains -- it didn't matter I had to stand outside on my balcony, lean way out and crank my neck to the left -- I had a view of the majestic mountains and I was in heaven.

I appreciated everything about my new experience.

Years later, I rarely notice the mountain views out my windows. I still love them, but my daily views have become invisible like anything we grow accustom to in life.

So how does this apply to aging?

You can bet if you've moved past your 20s, you're starting to take for granted the things that once elicited great joy... and chances are, you're sweating the small stuff.

Life happens. Tragedy strikes, illness comes, disappointments and betrayals are commonplace, and our over-scheduled lives often cease variety as we work, work out, sleep and repeat.

It takes real effort to prevent life from dragging your spirit down.

It's not your actual age that show up on your face, it's the disappointments you've endured causing your youthful glow to drain and your eyes to appear dull and tired.

To stay young and happy, we've got to choose differently when it comes to our reactions to life:

Shrugging off drama, not taking every slight as personal, refusing to participate in gossip, finding our way through difficult situations and recalibrating ourselves back into balance is what turns back the aging clock.

Making time for introspection, giving people the benefit of the doubt, being quick to laugh, quick to apologize, and refusing to expect the worst are all keys to staying young.

My own grandma had an inner-glow until the day she died at 94.

My father could walk quietly into a room and suddenly the whole room was drawn to him. He had an inner sparkle, a happy heart, and a kindness about him that was irresistible.

Both had an ageless quality that had nothing to do with gray hair, lines on their faces or their aging bodies.

Who we really are and the thoughts we think silently inside of our heads are what shows up on our faces as the years go by.

Growing numb to the beauty of life ages us, while having consistent negative reactions to life robs our youth.

Growing old is not a choice, there's a beginning and there's an end destination. Aging on the other hand- that we have control over -- and that control is just a matter of choice.

Post with permission via Daily Transformations