We've Already Found the Fountain of Youth

You'll probably remember the tales of young Spanish explorer John Ponce de Leon whose only desire was to find a fountain of youth in what is now Florida. Of course he wanted to help make his monarch a feisty, virile and handsome (in no particular order) king. John came and went. He didn't get younger or find a fountain of youth but he did get richer. Some of this was taught to us in school which made us think it was true. It wasn't. Turns out that the tale of a spring which would rejuvenate life was a Japanese fairy tale. I'm quite sure there are others like it around the world.

In the old days when I was a reporter, I would be obliged to tell you the details of how we got from Japan to Spain and then Florida and back to Spain without any water making people young. I'm old now and this is a column or blog or whatever you want to call it and I don't have to explain everything... just the most important stuff. The true and real part is that all members of our tribe share some part of the fountain of youth. All companies in the world who manufacturer anything, insure, medicate, provide health care, funerals or wills are the explorers who are trying to find out just how far they can go to get our attention and all of our money before we leave it to our kids.

How? They are trying to convince us that if we buy their products, use their services, move to their facilities, use their hospitals, buy their insurance, use their cell phones, hearing aids and all the other stuff they try (and do) sell and tell us... that we will live longer and happier lives. If you don't believe me, there's a commercial on TV right now which clearly shows that the old guy with the advertiser's cane gets the semi-old woman and the other old guy and his old cane are left behind alone on a bench.

Think about it. Through advertising messages, friends, news and family, we are constantly advised of ways in which we can become younger. We can walk better, hear, see, exercise and travel with oxygen, use miracle drugs and even have our floppy wrinkled skin treated and tightened. For the record, I am not going for the skin thing because there wouldn't be anything left but a pole with funny hair. Without flab and wrinkles, I'm nothing. These are my basic building blocks. HOWEVER, there are many of you who are remarkably well preserved. You may not need "products" but there are some of us who do and we have way too many choices.

When our grandmothers were alive... and their grandmothers, the only things they could rely on were from the barnyard or garden. Lard, lanolin, mint, lavender and other herbs and poultices provided as much as they could want. They didn't worry about their weight because their lives were a process of bearing children, cooking and cleaning. Men relied on herb scented soaps made from the aforementioned ingredients for their personal care and shaving. For some men, these cleaning rituals never caught on... for others, they were a religion. The alcohol tonics were very popular with some.

This world of ours is experiencing a renaissance of herbal soaps and medicines but we've gone much further into changing old bodies to try and make them new. I came from a pretty down-to-earth family. The thought of spending a lot money for having that hangy-down thingy on your chin removed never hit our radar. Eliminating facial wrinkles was considered later in life because Oil of Olay doesn't require you to own an oil well to buy it.

Since I don't want to alienate readers who have chosen to look younger through surgery, body sculpting or hair replacement I'll just say that if it makes you happy... it makes me happy too. I just hope you didn't mortgage the farm to be able to afford it... you might need some of those animal products later on if times get tough.

In the meantime, just know that you are being courted every day by people why think they can find your fountain of youth. If you are 70 and have yourself remodeled to look 50, your innards are still 70. All the miscellaneous parts that were worn out will still be there but you will look marvelous. Only when you start trying to do things a fifty year-old would do will you discover that you're still 70 as are all of your parts.

If you are alive, you've already found your own fountain of youth. The trick is to keep discovering things which help you feel young. It might be grandchildren or friends, exercise or volunteer work. I thought the neighbor lady's hot tub might be THE fountain of youth. My old bones felt so good in there until I tried to get out. Let's just say that falling out of a tub is not as much fun as getting in and the fountain of youth is not next door. :) Have a great week.

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