The senior citizen population of Japan is increasing. I often hear from elderly people that “we feel are getting older, yet we know our mental age remains the same.”

I remember the words of a certain American lady who said, “I am 90 years young, not old!” She has a very strong will to do something. She has also been full of curiosity and still energetically engages in various volunteer efforts and teaching activities. It is true that she is in reality young, not so old at all, when we look at her everyday activities. “Young” can be defined as the power of the will to do something that makes a person feel alive.

Nobody can resist the natural (physical) process of getting older; however, do we really feel our mental age is getting older at the same time? The answer would be “no.”

It is my prayer that an ageless mental view of the self keeps elderly people young, while of course paying very careful attention to physical health.

Younger people today seem to devote a lot of time to the internet, their cellphones and games. How about listening to elderly people’s real-life stories and views on various issues, which would help younger people in their growth?

I was asked by that American woman, “How young are you?” I would like to continue my youthfulness as long as possible, but I am not as young as that lady!


The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.

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