“Youth is not a time of life—it is a state of mind. It is not a matter of red cheeks, red lips and supple knees. It is a temper of the will; a quality of the imagination; a vigor of the emotions; it is a freshness of the deep springs of life. Youth means a tempermental predominance of courage over timidity, of the appetite for adventure over a life of ease. This often exists in a man of fifty, more than in a boy of twenty. Nobody grows old by merely living a number of years; people grow old by deserting their ideals.
Years may wrinkle the skin, but to give up enthusiasm wrinkles the soul. Worry, doubt, self-distrust, fear and despair—these are the long, long years that bow the head and turn the growing spirit back to dust.
Whether seventy or sixteen, there is in every being’s heart a love of wonder; the sweet amazement at the stars and starlike things and thoughts; the undaunted challenge of events, the unfailing childlike appetite for what comes next, and the joy in the game of life.
You are as young as your faith, as old as your doubt; as young as your self-confidence, as old as your fear, as young as your hope, as old as your despair.
In the central place of your heart there is a wireless station. So long as it receives messages of beauty, hope, cheer, grandeur, courage, and power from the earth, from men and from the Infinite—so long are you young. When the wires are all down and the central places of your heart are covered with the snows of pessimism and the ice of cynicism, then are you grown old, indeed!”
by Samuel Ullman (1840–1924)
General Douglas MacArthur had this poem framed over his desk in the Dai-Ichi Seimei Building in Tokyo, Japan when he served as Supreme Commander of the Allied Powers (SCAP) during the Allied occupation of Japan post-World War II.
Bill Powers is author of The Pharm House a debut suspense/thriller from DonnaInk Publications, L.L.C. To order and/or purchase, The Pharm House visit http://www.donnaink.org. For bulk orders, signings and interviews contact Special Markets at firstname.lastname@example.org.