They say that youth is wasted on the young.
But what if you manage to keep the exuberance of a child and combine it with the wisdom of age?
Then you are on to a winner!
The perfect combination is staying young at heart even whilst you mature.
Here are some clear signs that you’ve nailed it…
1) You dance like nobody is watching
I’m not specifically talking about dancing here either.
This can be generally applied to doing things that bring you joy, without worrying about how it looks to other people.
The sad truth is that self-consciousness is an affliction that usually hits us as we age.
As we become more aware of the judgment of others, it can seriously impact our behavior.
We get embarrassed, we become shy. Sometimes, we may even decide to hide away rather than dare to be seen.
Little kids do their thing, oblivious to the fact that onlookers are taking in their every move.
It gives them a wonderful freedom of expression that so many of us adults lose.
If you can show up without taking yourself too seriously, then you have captured this marvelous essence of innocent childhood.
2) You love to play and experiment
Play is essentially learning.
It’s how we grow and expand. But when we become adults, we tend to take our playtime far more seriously.
And in the process, this can actually ruin it for us.
Sometimes we make our play about winning, advancement, and accolades. We want to know it will be useful to us and guarantee our success.
Here’s where kids get it so right:
They do things for the sake of doing, rather than the results. This offers a huge advantage. When we let go of any desired outcome, we see life as one big experiment.
We can put our full attention on giving something a try. We can enjoy the process so much more when we take this approach. We actually want to try new things.
Children are prepared to get messy and just give things a go.
3) You never stop asking questions
When a child becomes a toddler, they suddenly want to know everything about how life works.
It’s a sign of natural curiosity that is symbolized by the incessant “Why?” that they like to bombard you with 1001 times a day.
This curiosity is a wonderful thing to hold on to.
It is what drives us to explore the world, uncover new truths, and learn things about ourselves and others.
Human curiosity is one of the all-important foundations of our evolution — not only as individuals— but as a species.
If you never stop asking questions then you have clearly held on to this fascination for life.
4) You have dreams that you hold onto
Life holds many unpalatable realities that we have to face.
Sometimes life isn’t fair and the truth is that we don’t always get what we want.
When you are young, you don’t necessarily stop to think about whether you can be what you want to be or have what you want.
You’re only concerned with your desires, the details don’t matter so much.
Of course, as we grow up that’s not usually a luxury we can afford anymore.
But here is also the truth:
A lot of people give up on themselves and their dreams when they shouldn’t.
A lack of confidence, self-belief, and self-esteem tells them to settle for so much less.
But in the words of Norman Vincent Peale:
“Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars.”
Hope, dreams, and drive can be incredibly powerful motivators that give life meaning. We shouldn’t be so quick to abandon them.
5) You believe that people are good
Children have a very trusting nature.
But once bitten twice shy, so as we go through life and become adults we tend to take a more cautious approach.
Clearly, boundaries are essential.
We’re not talking about naivete or adopting blind faith in everyone you meet.
But seeing the best in people is not only a gift to others, it’s also a gift to yourself too.
You don’t take everyone else’s imperfections and flaws to heart. You forgive natural errors and know that most people are doing the best they can in life.
Even when that falls short, it doesn’t turn you into a cynic.
When you believe that people are fundamentally good, you end up showing more genuine appreciation.
In doing so, you bring out the best in others.
6) You take change in your stride
Childhood is quite the wild ride when you think about it.
It involves such a concentration of drastic change in a very short period.
Luckily, as the experts remind us, kids are incredibly adaptable. As psychotherapist Mia Rosenberg explains:
“Because children’s brains are developing rapidly, they are able to bounce back quicker than an adult; they are able to learn skills and cope at a quicker rate.”
Unfortunately, this go-with-the-flow attitude is often lost as we become more stuck in our ways.
Part of it is undoubtedly because we can no longer stay as blissfully ignorant of risk as we often are as kids.
But if you manage to embrace change and run with it you can hold on to the gift of adaptability.
As an adult, that’s probably going to involve building up your confidence and resilience to know you can handle whatever comes your way.
7) You’re not afraid to be yourself
At the beginning of this article, I talked about how self-consciousness can creep in and change us.
Another way that it shows up is in how we represent ourselves to other people.
Children are so wonderfully vulnerable.
They lay themselves bare, without much consideration of how the real them will be received. They struggle to pretend to be something they are not.
Yet us grown-ups become very comfortable with wearing masks. We put on different ones depending on the context and who we’re with.
It is a bold act of courage to be your sincere self.
Any adult who can turn around and unashamedly say “I am what I am” has learned a very important lesson:
No matter what you do, there’ll always be haters. But what matters most in life is what you think of yourself.
8) You’re busy living for today
Kids are great at seizing the day.
Youthfulness just seems to offer you far more do-overs.
Rather than ruminating on what’s already gone or worrying about what’s to come, the young at heart focus on the now.
This very day presents quite enough opportunities and experiences for you to focus on.
Of course, as adults, we do need to plan ahead for certain things.
But it’s more about embracing the spirit of living for today, not about neglecting certain organization that needs to be done.
Waking up and seeing every single day as a brand new adventure is what gives you that energetic enthusiasm in life.
9) You’re raring to go and full of beans
Okay, maybe not until you’ve had your first coffee.
But you just love life.
You always try your hardest to have fun. You prefer to move through your day with a spring in your step. You are always up for an adventure.
You like to stay active and move your body.
In your mind, there is so much to see and do in life — and you can’t wait to get started.
You never believe you are too old.
As long as there is breath in your body, you intend to make the most of every second.
10) You give your heart away willingly
It’s a pretty big ask from anyone who has had their heart broken.
Children do it so much more freely because they don’t have the scars of disappointment that we will inevitably gain along the way.
But a life without love is no life at all.
The best things in life are not without risk, and love is most certainly one of them.
No matter how many knocks you face, you know that there will never be a day when you decide to bring up the draw bridge to your heart.
You may no longer wear your heart on your sleeve, but you deeply cherish loving relationships.
Age is just a number
It’s a cliche but it’s true.
Because youthfulness is far more defined by your energy than it is your date of birth.
The lessons we learn as we go through life are bound to change us. But we can still hold on to the wonder that characterizes being young at heart.
It’s about continuing to see the magic all around you and being determined to make the most of it.