“You are never too old to set another goal or dream a new dream.” Timeless author C.S.
Lewis’s words capture the essence of what it means to be young at heart. In my life, I have
encountered individuals who have met this mantra more and more with each day that they
increase in years, because, as they say “I only live once!” Although one cannot avoid aging
physically, my experiences with others around me have shown that one’s mental abilities may
have nothing to do with how many years one has lived.
Throughout my lifetime, I have met individuals who have exhibited characteristics that
one normally would not associate with that person’s age group. For instance, most individuals
think of a “bar mitzvah” as a process a 13-year-old boy goes through to become a man. However,
this is sometimes not the case. My great-uncle, at the youthful age of 83, officially became a bar
mitzvah as he read from the Torah, smiling as though he had received an A on his third-grade
spelling test. Nevertheless, my great-uncle’s endeavors demonstrated to me and enhanced my
belief that one’s age does not reflect the state of one’s mind and soul.
Another example I have seen in my life took place just a few years ago. My great-aunt, a
diminutive woman no taller than 4’6″ and whose abilities are compromised due to her age (85),
decided that the masses must see her with straight teeth: she received orthodontic braces for a
number of months to correct her underbite. To me, a “tinsel-toothed” girl, twelve-years-old with
orange, braided hair, pops into my head when I think of someone who wears braces. From this
experience, I concur that an individual’s age merely shows on his or her exterior.
Yet another group of individuals in my life — one that I know all too well — exemplifies
my belief that age remains exclusively a physicality. As opposed to the first two examples, I am a
prominent member of this group widely known as “youth.” Teenagers, more than ever, seek new
ways to free themselves from family restraints with methods such as obtaining a driver’s
education. Although teenagers frequently are more than capable of journeying to their
destinations by means other than “fuel-burners,” the fact that cars are status symbols drives many
teens to acquire them, contrary to the common notion that adults are the only ones seeking to
boost their financial images.
I believe that youth, in its truest form—the soul—appears haphazardly in the gene pool
and all through generational divides. As shown by these examples, I perceive that many
individuals do not wish to dig beyond the surface or past the body of an individual, and prefer to
just settle for what was given to them by the ignorant populous. I now realize that the human
spirit is blind to what society expects in the face of what paths one aspires to follow.
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