By Stephanie Lynn, age 24, Massachusetts
So many dreams swimming out in the blue,
Let them come true
Forever young, I want to be forever young,
Do you really want to live forever?
(Lyrics by Youth Group)
No one remembers the group who originally recorded this 1984 song. But you probably remember it playing at the dance in Napoleon Dynamite, along with the poofy-sleeve dresses. Truth is, you won't stay forever young, as romantic as the idea may be. But some people do get older faster than others. If you want to stay as "forever young" as possible, what can you do? Here are 8 helpful suggestions:
1. Stay out of the sun. It ages you. You can't see it happening so you don't think it's happening to you. Sacrifice your golden tan for more years of youthful skin. When you must venture into the sun, wear a sunscreen or sunblock with an SPF of 20 or greater, and be sure to apply it every two hours, and more frequently if you swim. And when not swimming or showing off your new swimsuit cover up from head to toe.
2. Stay in shape. Feeling forever young means feeling full of energy. At age 10 this was easy. With each passing year it takes more and more effort to look and feel great. And it's a whole lot easier to stay in shape than to get in shape. Don't worry though, you don't have to lift weights or play a sport you hate to stay in shape. Even a brisk walk several times a week on your college campus or the mall can be enough for you.
3. Stay off the junk food. You know what I mean - the pre-packaged cakes you eat for school lunch and the oversized bag of chips during this week's Gossip Girl. Junk food means your ingesting empty calories and harmful chemicals which can lead to unwanted fat, in turn making you feel lousy and not very energetic. Stock up with some healthy snacks like fresh fruit and crackers, or have a healthy turkey, tuna, or veggie sandwich when your stomach beckons. Also, if you just need a quick energy boost try foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids such as salmon, walnuts, flax seeds, soybeans, tofu, and peanuts.
4. Stay up late only on special occasions. Sometimes it can be fun to stay up all hours of the night watching horror or chick flicks with your bestest of friends. And sometimes you need to pull that all-nighter to finish a paper you've dreaded writing. But on most nights, it's important to get 8-10 hours of sleep. That may seem like a lot, but when you're a teen or young adult, you need to get your rest. Then you'll have more energy throughout the day for sports and other favorite activities.
5. Stay away from smoking, drinking, and drugs. Years of smoking wrinkles your skin. You know about that. And you know that drug users often look, and in fact are, old before their time. But what about alcohol?
Teens who begin drinking before age 15 are five times more likely to develop alcohol dependence than those who begin drinking at age 21 ... 70% of alcoholics and alcohol abusers will suffer the following irreversible physical side effects: cirrhosis of the liver (fatal in over 60% of cases), "cauliflowering" of the nose and ears (where your ears and nose become cauliflower shaped), permanent restructuring of the brain, including loss of long term memory, heart problems, obesity, premature dementia (partial and full), loss of bladder control, and slurred speech, even when sober.
6. Stay away from the teen drama! Being labeled the school "drama queen" could be affecting your overall health without you even realizing it. Why? Stress ages people. Yeah, our peers can be annoying and just plain cruel sometimes. But you have to realize that you and your mental health are way more important than fighting with a girl about how she stole your man or is spreading a vicious rumor about your best friend. You may even think you enjoy verbally knocking her down, but the drama itself is wearing you down and perhaps stressing you out. You already have enough to think about between school, your family, friends, your boyfriend, and other values you hold.
7. Actively maintain your mental health. If you're struggling with depression, cutting, etc., make an appointment with your doctor.
And don't forget about values such as faith, integrity, hope, kindness, and love. These help keep us forever young. But negativism, hate, anger, depression, and despair age us, and not in a good way.
8. Finally, remember to stay open minded to new ideas and new people. Being closed-minded makes us old. Being open to new ideas and new people keeps us forever young!!