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Youth & Aging

[My mentor] said, ‘Youthfulness originates from life-force.’ There are young people who look surprisingly old, and there are elderly people who, no matter how the years pass, always sparkle with the glow of youth, an inner vitality.

Challenge yourself in something—it doesn’t matter what. Then as you make consistent effort, the direction you should take will quite naturally open up before you.

Do not despair or grow impatient over transient phenomena. Life is long. Even if you have problems, even if you have done things you regret or have made mistakes, your whole future still lies ahead of you.

Do we view old age as a period of decline ending in death, or as an ascent toward the attainment of our goals, toward bringing our life to a rewarding and satisfying conclusion? A subtle difference in our inner attitude can completely transform our experience of these years.

Hope begets a youthful spirit. As long as one has hope, one can remain eternally young.

I believe youth can last a lifetime. Inner youthfulness is not a matter of our physical age. Rather, it is determined by the passion with which we live, the enthusiasm with which we learn, the freshness and energy with which we advance towards our chosen goals in life.

Individuals who feel needed and strive on behalf of others who need them remain youthful and energetic. They can transform a community, making it a warm and welcoming place to live.

It is natural for people to want to be needed, to want to have their importance to others tangibly confirmed. Our challenge is to build a society in which people feel truly valued and fulfilled throughout the course of their lives. . . . Recognizing and treasuring the contributions of older people is essential to the long-term flourishing of any society.

Labels put on people in school such as “smart” or “not very bright,” are not of great importance. Rather, persistence and the energy to complete what you have set out to accomplish are the strengths that will be real assets in life.

Life loses its dynamism from the moment we lose the passion with which to live it. No matter what our age, we cannot afford to let the flame within our heart grow dim. . . . We do not become unhappy because we grow old. We become unhappy only when we grow ever more unwilling to change as we age.

No one, not even those with seemingly limitless amounts of wealth and power, can avoid death. It is only when we become clearly conscious of our finitude―the limited amount of time any of us possesses―that we can earnestly consider the question of how best to live, how to make something truly valuable of our lives.

Nothing is irredeemable in youth. Rather, the worst mistake you can make when you're young is to give up on yourself and not to challenge yourself for fear of failure.

Our bodies may grow stiffer with the passing of time, but we should not let the same happen to our minds. The older we are, the more willing we should be to listen to others, especially young people.

Sincere efforts to brighten our surroundings and the lives of others return to illuminate our own final years with dignity. A genuinely happy person is one who has made others happy.

Some people are overly critical of themselves and become listless and unassertive as a result. . . . Rather than engaging in pointless self-flagellation, young people would do best just being what young people are: bold, audacious and gutsy―and throwing themselves entirely into whatever the task at hand.

The ideal old age might be likened to a magnificent sunset. Just as the deep red of the setting sun holds the promise of a beautiful tomorrow, a life well lived conveys the gift of hope to future generations.

The real meaning of youth has nothing to do with physical age. In Buddhist terms, youth means to consistently maintain an open, flexible and tolerant mind.

The struggle against aging is a struggle against cowardice, the propensity to shun new challenges. It is a struggle against our complacent belief that we have done enough, an egocentric unwillingness to help younger people develop, and an attachment to our past glory. Aging sneaks in through such chinks of our soul. The life of one who continues to challenge to the end remains youthful, ageless, and victorious.

There are many people who as they age become increasingly vigorous and energetic, more broad-minded and tolerant, living with a greater sense of freedom and assurance. It is important to remember that aging and growing old are not necessarily the same.

Those whose final years of life are victorious are the real winners. Often the triumphs gained in youth can be all too fleeting and transitory. Unsurpassed happiness belongs to those who have overcome every difficulty, savor a genuine sense of fulfillment, and can say, “Yes, I lived a good life."

To lose heart just because of one or two failures is shortsighted indeed. Life is a long journey. . . . Youth should go forward with courage, realizing that the more often you fail, the firmer the foundation you are building for your future life and happiness.

Youthfulness is not determined by age. It is determined by one’s life force. One who possesses hope is forever young. One who continually advances is forever beautiful.

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