The Happy Old Men's Club launched a couple years ago, when I started meeting regularly with my good friend, Nate and Steve over breakfast. The purpose of our meetings is not just chit-chat. Our aim is to encourage and support each other in the most important areas of life's journey: faith, family, friendships, leadership, the inner life, and making the world a better place. I cherish my times with these dear brothers.
A while back, we named our group The Happy Old Men's Club because we've chosen to be happy, rather than grumpy in the sunset years of our lives.
Now I realize age is a matter of perspective. The young geezers believe we're already over the hill, while the octogenarians call us whippersnappers. As far as we're concerned, we're still growing up.
The bottom line is that we hope to maintain a youthful spirit regardless of age.
Our little club reminds me of Samuel Ullman's poem, "Youth", which was often quoted by General Douglas McArthur:
Youth is not a time of life; it is a state of mind; it is not a matter of rosy cheeks, red lips and supple knees; it is a matter of the will, a quality of the imagination, a vigor of the emotions; it is the freshness of the deep springs of life.
Youth means a temperamental predominance of courage over timidity of the appetite, for adventure over the love of ease. This often exists in a man of sixty more than a boy of twenty. Nobody grows old merely by a number of years. We grow old by deserting our ideals.
Years may wrinkle the skin, but to give up enthusiasm wrinkles the soul. Worry, fear, self-distrust bows the heart and turns the spirit back to dust.
Whether sixty or sixteen, there is in every human being's heart the lure of wonder, the unfailing child-like appetite of what's next, and the joy of the game of living. In the center of your heart and my heart there is a wireless station; so long as it receives messages of beauty, hope, cheer, courage and power from men and from the infinite, so long are you young.
When the aerials are down, and your spirit is covered with snows of cynicism and the ice of pessimism, then you are grown old, even at twenty, but as long as your aerials are up, to catch the waves of optimism, there is hope you may die young at eighty.