Vitality is defined as the state of being strong and active; the power giving continuance of life present in all living things, interesting, or my favourite, changes that will give renewed energy, not just physically but mentally too. Often people may believe that vitality dwindles with age. This doesn’t have to be true. Simply because we live longer we can strive to embrace the positive aspects of growing older dispelling all the negativity of it which seems more prevalent. Refuse to be chained down by pessimism. Many studies show that older folks are happier and more content than ever. Seniors are wise, experienced and often more engaged in a variety of ways.
William Shatner, 90 years young, recently flew into space, now the oldest person to ever go. He described the experience as profound and extraordinary stating, “I hope I never recover from this.” Captain Kirk faced some opposition to his journey from a few family members, and he did admit that there were moments he wondered if he was too old for the adventure, but he forged ahead with a gotta-do-it attitude. Even if you are not a trekkie, you have to admire his chutzpah.
But what if I just don’t feel exuberant. The key may lie in changes, changes in our thinking and in our personal belief system. Rather like the little engine that could, we must switch our thoughts from negative to positive, or at least to possible. We must be open to new adventures. And, could “the power giving continuance of life” be God at work, at work helping us make those changes?
Ok, so I don’t mean that now we should all go sky-diving, or take up alpine skiing risking life and limb. More realistically perhaps we can however take on new challenges more suited to our individual situation. The main thing is that we must be ready to say yes to a new adventure. Maybe it is a tremendous physical feat, or maybe it’s taking a cooking class, going to the gym, learning a new skill such as flamenco dance, woodworking, pottery, or writing your memoirs, some activity you have always admired but never had time to pursue when younger. Vitality is about your outlook on life. It‘s about your mental spunk! It is not necessarily dependent on your state of health or fitness level. It’s about always being ready to embrace the new in order to grow. The most unhappy people may well be those who do not wish to learn.
Anna Mary Robertson Moses, Grandma Moses, at 76 could no longer embroider because of her arthritic hands so she decided to paint. Today her paintings hang in museums all over the world.
Frank McCourt was 65 when he began writing. He went on to win a Pulitzer Prize for “Angela’s Ashes” and other prestigious awards.
At 96 author Harry Bernstein became famous. When he died at 101 he was still writing-“What Happened to Rose.”
In many lives the best is truly yet to come, or the rest is the best, as they say. Do you believe that? A good and reliable gauge may be this. Think back to the last heart to heart conversation you’ve had with a friend. Was it full of negativity? Did you spend most of it recounting your ailments-oooouch? Eleanor Roosevelt said, “great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people.”
“Moses was 120 years old when he died; his eyes were not weak, and his vitality had not left him.” Deuteronomy 34:7
Elijah outran King Ahab and his army for the full length of the Jezreel Valley, almost 28 miles! He outran the horses. Can you imagine that? We are talking God-given physical vitality here! 1 Kings 18:45
“Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.” Hebrews 12:1-2
Could living a life of vitality be a form of worship, honouring all that God has given to us? And remember, worship pushes out darkness. Yes, primarily worship expresses our profound gratitude to our Father, but it also lifts us in the process.
“Those (the righteous as compared to a tree) that be planted in the house of the Lord shall flourish in the courts of our God. (KJV) They shall bear fruit even when they are in old age; they are filled with vitality and have many leaves …” (AM) Psalm 92:14