A Simple but Powerful Antidote to Aging
My teacher has looked the same for the past 15 years — here’s her secret
One of the first people I looked up to was my fifth-grade English teacher. Ms. Jocson was an excellent teacher with a pleasant personality — kind, jovial, smart, and patient. I remember her walk into class, lighting up the room with her smile.
But here’s the most incredible thing: The way I remember her almost 15 years ago — with her wide grin, straight black hair, fair complexion, and slender frame — is exactly how she looks today.
I’m not exaggerating. I would’ve called it graceful aging if there was any sign of aging. But there isn’t.
Because while human consciousness is within our control, the subconscious isn’t. If we think we can block out influences just because we want to, we might as well believe we were rocks.
She was one of those cool teachers with who you’d be perfectly fine being friends on social media, so we’ve been able to keep in touch through the years. And last year, my sister and I — we were both lucky enough to have been her students — had lunch with her to catch up. We badgered her to reveal the truth: How is it possible that she hasn’t aged one bit? What was her secret?
Sitting as pretty and perky as ever, she laughed and, without much thought, simply answered, “Surround yourself with happy people. And drink lots of water!”
When we think of the word “youth”, we reminisce the good old times when we had little to worry about life. A time when we didn’t want so many things and didn’t expect so much from ourselves. We had no cause for bitterness. We were hopeful, wide-eyed, and unjaded — yet to be exposed to the demands of society, the realities of the world, and the sea of critics.
And then, people get to our heads — people who are quick to point out our flaws and shortcomings. We begin to equate our self-worth to society’s yardstick, slowly eroding our enthusiasm and sense of self.
It is so easy to judge others. To be cynical. And worst of all, to accept that things are just the way they are. “It’s a dog-eat-dog world.” “Play the game or get played.” While I don’t believe people are inherently evil or selfish, the truth is that there are people who are just not good for you.
Every person we come across has the power to nourish or deplete us. We can shrug off the criticism and negativity to the best of our ability, but that’s never an airtight solution. Because while human consciousness is within our control, the subconscious isn’t. If we think we can block out these influences just because we want to, we might as well believe we were rocks.
People will affect us whether we know it or not. The negative thoughts and vibrations permeate our minds like cancer — spreading and sickening us in the most insidious manner. Soon enough, the internal damage will manifest in more apparent ways. Smiles become rare, our faces dull. We look worn out. Drained. Aged.
Ms. Jocson’s solution to staying young echoes Epictetus’ belief: “The key is to keep company only with people who uplift you, whose presence call forth your best.”
So, protect who gets into your head. Be deliberate and unforgiving about who influences you. Evaluate your relationships and have the courage to cut out the people who do not mean you well. To hell with “never burn bridges”— if they lead to toxic places, it’ll never be worth the trip.
The quality of your life depends on the quality of your thoughts. And as Seneca said, “Nothing delights the mind as much as a loving and loyal friendship”.
Surround yourself with genuine people who pick your thoughts up — people who make you laugh, think deeply, and never fail to remind you of what really matters in life. Your day ones, as I’d like to call them, will rush to send light and love your way when you need it.
And when you’re sure of who these people are, fight like hell to keep them in your life. They will give you a radiant smile, a vibrant mind, a beautiful soul, and a hopeful disposition towards life. Youth, then, will never leave your side.
You and I both just want good lives. That’s why I write stories like this one. Let me share with you what I know. Join my weekly newsletter, and together, let’s put the “good” in The Good Life. Catch you there!