When we come across young people who exhibit a level of maturity beyond their years, we often describe them as having old souls. Many of us believe that the job of parents is to raise children to be old souls from as young an age as possible. Teaching life skills that will carry them a long way in life is the obvious primary mission, but also critical is to avoid leaving as much of our own personal baggage on their shoulders as possible. The best parents are both instructive and inclusive with children. When they feel a part of the conversation, they feel enabled and drawn into the world. When they’re constantly berated and corrected by parents, they feel inadequate and diminished. Thus old souls are formed by inclusive parenting.
Young hearts think in possibility, take leaps of faith, seek adventure and break rules. Certainly many young people have a young heart, but many don’t. Just so, there are many old people with young hearts too. It’s an exclusive club, revealed with a secret handshake and a twinkle in the eye—you know the young at heart when you encounter them in the wild. And if you’re inclined to do things that others feel aren’t appropriate for your age and status, well, you might have a young heart too.
To get anything done in this world, we must have a healthy combination of old soul and young heart: Maturity and insight mixed with the Moxie to just do it already. Old souls with young hearts make the world go round. Inventors and pioneers, musicians and poets, fighter pilots and social leaders who dare shake up the status quo, all have the right stuff. Bold, but not reckless, they seek expression in their chosen craft.
We forget, sometimes, that older people with young hearts get a lot of things done too. We can accomplish so much more as we get some momentum behind us if we choose to pursue our own passions. Age is simply a number—it’s fitness, health and vibrancy that fuel the fire, whether you’re 23 or 103 or somewhere in between. If we’re lucky and blessed with enough runway, forward propulsion and lift, we just might soar. Life is best lived with an old soul and a young heart.