Are you in love with life?

March 6, 2015

in-love-with-life is very important to be in love with life. I have met people…in their 80s who love life so much that, behind their aged bodies, the numbers disappear.
~Keith Haring

Keith Haring’s journals show what a deep and observant thinker he was, and also what a great loss the creative world suffered when he died of AIDS. Of course, most great creatives are observant–and their unique eye on the world is what sparks their art.

This young man who died at only 31 had already noticed that love of life is key to aging well. When he wrote that little gem of wisdom he knew that aging would not be in the cards for him, which makes the observation so poignant.

We are lucky to have three friends in their 80s who are all involved, active and interesting. They serve as terrific role models for the way we’d like to age.  On the flip side, I also know a 60-year-old who has given up, old before his time, claiming the title out loud all the time. The difference between the two approaches seemed a mystery, until I read the Journals.

Haring was right: it’s love of life that drives us to not give up when age throws us a few curves. As he aptly observed, age becomes meaningless in the face of a life well-lived. I see this in my friends: active, involved, fit. I wouldn’t even say “spry,” that word we use to describe active older people. “Fit” fits.

That’s not to say, though, that we can live exactly as we had in our younger days.

in-love-with-lifeThe scene was Half Moon Bay, Calif. overlooking the water. As we devoured a lunch of meaty lobster rolls together, our 82-year-old friend reminisced about the days when he’d take off at the drop of a hat to ski Vail or Aspen or Tahoe.  His voice took on the enthusiasm of a young man as he regaled us with tales of the active and busy life he’d had decades ago.  “Before my back gave out,” he said, wistfully.

His words touched me beyond measure. I could have cried for the longing I heard in his voice, for how much he missed his younger days, those days when activity didn’t have to be limited. And I was reminded just how quickly the days of youth pass. As we age, they seem to fly by faster and faster.

It’s not my imagination: people today ARE aging with more vitality and remain contributors to the world around them far longer than my parents and grandparents did.  It’s not unusual for us to share activities with our 80-something-year-old friends and they often put ME to shame with their level of physical fitness.

The past year has been an education for me.  I’ve always been an enthusiastic participant in life, but spending so much time with friends who have life-threatening diseases makes me appreciate it so much more. And really watching friends 20 years older than us age so youthfully? An inspiration.  Keith Haring attributed it to love of life and you know what?  I can’t disagree.

Your thoughts?


30 comments on “Are you in love with life?
  1. T.O. Weller says:

    Being in love makes everything better, doesn’t it?

    The last time I was in the throws of new love, only six short years ago with the man who became my husband, my energy levels soared. I didn’t have any aches and pains. I didn’t walk–I glided. My diet was a perfect balance of greens, proteins and carbs. I laughed more, blushed more, and sparkled everywhere I went.

    There are those who suggest that the chemicals that rush through our bodies when we’re in the throws of romantic love are the reason why we’re brighter, stronger, faster and healthier during that time. Scientifically speaking, it’s a benefit for the pro-creation of our species. We’ve inherited it, from an evolutionary perspective.

    Now, imagine if we could sustain that feeling and be in love with life the same way!

  2. Loving your life makes a difference also helps for us to live longer. In my life negativity isn’t allowed =)

  3. Carolann says:

    I think overall a huge yes! I totally do love it and am extremely grateful for everything and everyone in it. I miss having some older folks in my life as they have all passed which leaves me heartbroken.

  4. Diane says:

    I, too, love life and am so grateful for all that I’ve experienced thus far! Thank you for such a reminder!!

  5. Elisabeth says:

    As a nurse in a rural hospital, I take care of patients from birth through death… it’s not unusual for me to attend a birth one shift and do end-of-life care the next. It gives you quite the vivid perspective.

    My older patients are such gifts. They have such rich life stories to tell and such wonderful memories.

  6. I’m in LOVE with my life. And I’m so grateful for it!

  7. My parents are like that. They are both right at the 80-year mark, and they have aches and pains and arthritis, but they don’t let it stop them from living the life they want to lead. They exercise, garden, and keep their minds sharp with reading and computer mind games. My dad still shovels his driveway. Attitude and frame of mind are so important. They are a great inspiration to me.

  8. Kimba says:

    You take your health for granted, until you don’t. I’ve been lucky to healthy, strong and vibrant parents, but each has faced challenges this pat year. It has gotten my attention. Youth is indeed fleeting, but we should always yearn to do as much as possible.

  9. I think at this point in my life, I love my life more than I ever have.

  10. Helene Cohen Bludman says:

    We all love Keith Haring’s whimsical art in my family. We were lucky to see a show of his at The Brooklyn Museum a couple or years ago.

  11. It makes sense that a love for life can help you reach those older years.

  12. The loss of so many so young has definately changed my view of life. It also made me so much less fearful of what comes next. I am loving life.

  13. Heather says:

    I love people who don’t let age define them. I do think some people give up on their lives long before it’s over. I hope I’m never one of those people.

  14. Jeanine says:

    I know for a fact I am. My life just keeps getting better and better, and I don’t think I could ever ask for more!

  15. Britney says:

    I love this! There are so many things that can go wrong in our lives but we have to change our attitude and be excited for things to come!

  16. This is great! Yes, I am totally in love with life and am so appreciative and grateful that it seems to be reciprocating! I give thanks every day for my amazing life.

  17. This article really makes me stop and think. Very interesting.

  18. I feel the same way—whenever I hear of people my age who are having serious health issues, it makes me want to take better care of myself and appreciate my life more.

  19. I hope to live a long an active life. He is an inspiration.

  20. Stephanie says:

    So true! Love for life is so important. Older adults who have a zest for life are so inspirational. I hope that I can age as gracefully as some of my friends and family members.

  21. Kungphoo says:

    One of the most important aspects to life is definitely loving it 🙂 I agree with all of this!

  22. I used to like life, but it wasn’t until recently that I really began to LOVE life. This shift has changed my life completely.

  23. Alana says:

    My husband has an aunt who is 103 years old. Despite her breaking her hip a couple of months short of her last birthday, she still enjoys having company, keeping up with current events, and giving you her opinion on just about anything. She enjoys food so much – if we all ate with that much gusto! All this despite being so bent over with osteoporosis that she can’t stand stand up straight anymore. She transcends her phyiscal limits. She is such an inspiration.

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