We live in a hyper-competitive, consuming world–a fact that has a way of chipping away at us over time.
If we aren’t careful, we can succumb to the pressure and turn out jaded, bitter, and resentful of life.
Not to mention disconnected from our childhoods.
For many, the definition of being “grown-up” has sort of been skewed to mean stern or serious, and anything less is frowned upon.
This is a shame.
Hence, being able to stay “young at heart” through it all is a testament to your character.
The youthful zest trickles down to many aspects of life and keeps you healthy, mind, body, and soul.
In this article, I’ll take you through some of the behaviors that prove you’re still young on the inside, regardless of age.
Let’s dive in!
1) You embrace change
They say “You can’t teach an old dog, new tricks.”
There’s truth to this. Some people are so stuck in their ways that they remain incredibly resistant to change.
In their minds, if they don’t understand something, they stay fearful of it.
For instance, I know people of a certain generation who refuse to use a credit card for online purchases of any kind, worried they’ll get scammed.
They sacrifice convenience and comfort in the process.
Sure, the internet is a haven for scammers, but as long as you’re even mildly vigilant you’ll be fine. I think you and I are both aware of this.
If you remain open and excited about new technologies, trends, or cultural shifts, even though you may not always understand them immediately, you’re likely pretty young at heart.
You’re aware that the world is a constantly evolving place, that there are fresh improvements and perspectives daily.
The fact that you can embrace change indicates an inherent humility and willingness to adapt and explore–a trademark of a youthful and progressive mindset.
This brings to mind a quote by counterculture literary icon Frank Kafka: “Youth is happy because it has the capacity to see beauty. Anyone who keeps the ability to see beauty never grows old.”
2) You find joy in life’s simple pleasures
We live in a world of aspirations, of pretensions.
At a certain age, we might drop some of the things that make us happy, to “grow up” and pursue interests that are deemed more age-appropriate or sophisticated.
Society tells us: “You’re an adult now, you better start acting like it,” and most of us obediently follow this instruction.
This can mean replacing comic books with real books, Kool-Aid with expensive wine or expensive whiskey, and Five Guys with foie gras.
We want to announce our arrival into the adult world–and with the zeal of the newly converted, we occasionally scoff at our former interests and their lack of refinement.
If you’re able to overcome all this and pursue and delight in the small, everyday things that make you happy deep down–say getting a cheeseburger and milkshake at your local diner or dressing up for Halloween–it sounds like you’re still young at heart.
3) You have a powerful sense of curiosity and wonderment
Somehow, many regard being an adult as a time where curiosity about the world comes to a halt–kind of like grown-up Peter Pan in the movie Hook before he was whisked back to Neverland.
When we grow up, we’re supposed to be busy and have it all figured out.
In theory, there should be minimal time to truly wonder and marvel at things, both new and old.
So if you find yourself maintaining a sense of curiosity about the world, constantly asking questions, and feeling fascinated by new experiences, then chances are, you have a distinctly young side to you.
And if you have an appreciation and awe for the grandness of nature, this is also a sign of your childlike wonderment.
It’s easy to take these things for granted when we’re distracted by everyday stresses.
I mean there is a beautiful sunset every day, and there are an infinite amount of stars visible in the sky every night.
Keeping an appreciation for these things and the epic scale of it all speaks volumes about you, in a very good way.
4) You’re playful
As established, the mindset these days is something along the lines of “grown-ups have to be serious, leave the playfulness to the kids.”
If we become cold and humorless and lose the playful edge of youth, we are doing ourselves a disservice.
The truth is, it’s easy to give in to disgruntledness and resentment. But this is no way to go about life–it just isn’t sustainable.
I’m sure even the viral Karen’s and Ken’s of the world were once young, carefree, and enjoyed a good laugh now and then.
Your youthful exuberance, on the other hand, allows you to let your guard down and be silly, revel in playful banter, and find joy in the mundane.
Never let those feelings go, regardless of what an uptight world might tell you.
5) You enjoy spontaneity and adventure
When we’re young, we tend to be more adventurous and bold. As we age, that daring spirit unfortunately often fizzles out.
At a certain point in life, we might start finding comfort in predictability and routine.
But if there’s no room for spontaneity, then we’re not making the most out of life. It’s just that simple.
So if you’ve kept the fire burning and continue to welcome the prospect of spontaneous adventures, such as trying new food, visiting exotic places, or going on unplanned trips, then I have news for you: you might just be a youngin’ on the inside.
6) You embrace creativity
I’ve always found my grandmother just a little different from the other grandmas.
She knows how to use a smartphone, she’s on Instagram, she wears sneakers, and she’s creative.
One of her favorite creative outlets is writing. At 87, she still attends a weekly writing class with women half her age.
She’s by far the oldest person in the group, but that doesn’t deter her; in fact, she enjoys the fact that her classmates are younger, as their influence broadens her perspective.
Rather than sitting at home all week and passing the time like many folks her age, she actively chooses to engage in creativity and self-expression, genuinely enjoying the process.
You see, the creative process is perpetually evolving.
To stay on top of things, you have to be open to new thoughts and ideas and, as mentioned earlier, change–something many older people are known to be averse to.
So if you tend to embrace genuine creativity, then like my grandma, this means you likely have a sprightly side to you.
If you’ve concluded you’re still young at heart, please don’t change.
Society might tell you to conform, to “get it together,” so try to filter these voices out.
Youthful vigor is an absolute asset in this world if you approach it with balance and an open mind.
In an imperfect world, it’s your inner child, your sense of wonder and imagination that will keep you healthy, and make the daily stresses of life manageable. Don’t let that go.