Now comes a study that says thinking younger will makes you look and act younger. As for me, I’m only 50 years old—or something like that. Er, all right, all right, forget it…but what if……?
What gives rise to such rambling is a news story under the headline: “What if Age Is Nothing but a Mind Set?” Now that kind of thinking has caused me trouble from time to time. I happen to be married to a nurse who is big on the mind-body connection, and she tends to be (in my mind) obsessive about that idea. Aches and pains are mostly in your head. She lives by four words: Move More, Eat Less. My lifestyle tends toward the other side of those spectrums. Yet, as usual, she’s got something there (a roundabout way to say that as usual she’s right).
The New York Times piece starts with a study that took a group of men in their 70s—“this was before 75 was the new 55”—to a monastery for five days. There they found themselves in a “time warp,” where everything was as they experienced it in the 50s. The TV was black and white, the pictures of their wives were as they were back then, there were no mirrors, and Perry Como’s voice soothed their frayed nerves.
The men were told to live in their time warp, to act as if they were back there now—and young again. They were even treated as younger men. No bellhops for them; they had to carry their luggage up the stairs themselves.
At the end of the five days apparently all of the old guys were hopping around like youngsters . . . sort of. The guy in the wheelchair now used a cane, the old fogey with the scowl was now telling jokes, and at one point the guys suddenly started a touch football game. The walked taller, and even their vision was better.
Before the experiment the subjects were tested for things like memory, dexterity, grip strength, hearing and vision, memory and cognition. All had improved, and in some cases what had appeared to be a cognition deficit was merely lack of attention (they just didn’t give a @#%x any more).
The New York Times article by Bruce Grierson quotes Ellen Langer, the psychologist who ran the project, as saying it was almost like Lourdes (the shrine where miraculous cures occur). These older guys returned to their youth with their bodies, and “their minds went along for the ride.”
Like Lourdes? I have never visited that shrine where the Blessed Mother appeared to Saint Bernadette, and why would I change if I could create my own time warp in our house and get the same results? Ed Sullivan and Gunsmoke in black and white. A picture of me at age 15 in a soccer uniform (even then I was way ahead of my time). Lawrence Welk (just kidding).
Unfortunately for that idea, Lady Barbara is enjoying a newly painted downstairs and not amenable to another do-over. Oh well, maybe I don’t want all the benefits of youth after all. My hearing might improve and I might actually be able to hear her when for the fifth time she asks me to take the trash out. Not only that, but thinking so young might lead to making a real fool of myself: a Beamer convertible, a facelift, a toupee, tango lessons. Ughh!
Oh, well, maybe Lourdes is the ticket after all.