Secrets to staying young

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, April 29, 2003

Suffolk News-Herald

The turn out for the YMCA concerts last weekend was good. Despite the storms on Saturday evening, Kings Fork auditorium was filled to capacity both Saturday night and Sunday evening and I want to thank those who came to support us.

I always meet someone that I know after these concerts who ask me, &uot;How do you manage to stay looking so young? Now I’m not trying to be modest but this question is usually asked by those who actually know my age. I was asked this question on Saturday night and I awoke with it in the back of my mind Sunday morning.

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Sunday mornings I usually like to listen to the teachings of

Dr. Charles Stanley on a religious program called &uot;In Touch&uot; and by coincidence

the title of his sermon

Sunday was &uot;How to Stay Young All of Your Life.&uot;

I started thinking of the night before, participating in a two-hour concert and realized how difficult it is for most people over 50 to stand still just for one hour. I have walked the treadmill for at least one hour and danced for at least three hours non-stop and never felt my feet go to sleep or my hip, back and legs hurt and ache as much as they do during the concerts. The age range of members in the chorus is from 30 to 80 and, believe me, others in the chorus had talked about experiencing these same feelings. Stanley also gave listeners seven suggestions to go by if they wanted to stay young. After the sermon, I applied some of the statements of the suggestions to the chorus.

The first one was keep on learning. Stanley said that a lot of people are satisfied in settling for what they know and not interested in learning new things because it taxes their brain. Learning the Word of God forms guidelines for the kind of living that can stop you from worrying

and keep you from being full of fear and anxiety in times of trouble. Less worry lowers blood pressure. When I think learning and associate it with the chorus I think about all the wonderful music that we are challenging our brains to learn in an amount of time to give good performances. Stanley said challenging the brain keeps you young.

The second one was keep on loving. Stanley said that if you don’t have someone to love, you had better find someone because love creates energy. Love causes anticipation and expectations.

We practiced with the anticipation of giving good concerts and expected the public to come out to support us and our efforts to give underprivileged children a chance to live normal and happy lives through scholarships at the Y. We succeeded on both counts.

The third one was keep on laughing. Stanley said that if you don’t have friends that make you laugh, you need to find some. Laughing affects every cell in your body, stimulates your immune system, and is good medicine in keeping you looking young. In rehearsals it was a lot of work but we always found something to laugh about.

The fourth one was keep on laboring. Stanley said that when a man reaches retirement age, he should ask God, &uot;Now that I have finished this task what is it that you want me to do?&uot; Nothing makes a man age faster than to retire and come home and sit and do nothing. Most of the people in the chorus have reached retirement age and beyond, but they still find the time to participate and commit themselves to rehearsals for three months year after year.

The fifth one was keep on leaving. Stanley said leave bad baggage behind and keep it in the past. Feelings such as resentment, jealousy, and living in the past, asking &uot;What if?&uot; will age you fast. The chorus has never looked back at what we could have done in past concerts. Only positive thoughts are brought to present rehearsals.

The sixth suggestion was keep on longing for dreams and goals. Stanley said that this goal also includes expectation, which keeps the mind stimulated in doing new things and new things to happen to you in life. We have goals and dreams each January to produce good concerts.

The seventh one was keep on leaning. Stanley said that the verse &uot;Trust in the Lord with all thine heart and lean not to thy own understanding and He will direct thy path,&uot; will cause you to go right every time. We pray and ask for God’s direction after each rehearsal and before every concert. He has never failed us. I have enjoyed being a part of the chorus for 12 years and am looking forward to next year. Participation in worthwhile causes, helping and loving people are some ingredients of my prescription for a youthful look and a life worth living.

Evelyn Wall is a staff writer for the News-Herald.