Keep Your Fire Alive

It seems every week, there’s a new fad on social media. First it was “filters”, where you could take a selfie and give yourself a puppy’s nose and a bunny ears. Then it was GIFs … “tell me about the first time we met using a short animation of anything but you.” Or something like that. My expertise in social media is pretty much limited to what I’m doing at the moment – writing really long posts.

The latest gimmick appears to be a twist on “throwback Thursdays” – posting your original profile picture alongside a current picture to see if time and nature have given you anything to brag about. Most of the entries I’ve seen are pretty impressive, though I did see one today showing Keith Richards in 1919 and again in 2019. I know it’s genuine, because they both look exactly the same.

But something I’ve noticed is that, in almost every instance, the current pictures are a lot more attractive and flattering than the old ones. And it’s not because of makeup, or weight loss, or Photoshop. For the most part, the people in these pictures have not only aged gracefully, it’s obvious they were too busy enjoying life to worry about the effects of time.

And, knowing these people on a personal level, there’s not a doubt in my mind. They’re happy, vibrant, confident, and generally the type who go out of their way to make somebody else’s day better. They’re the ones who never have to sit alone in the lunchroom. People walking past stop to say hi because of how they make you feel. They’re the kind of people we want to be around.

Now, to be fair, we don’t all age so well. Let’s just say there’s a reason I haven’t posted my own before and after pictures. But that doesn’t mean we’re any less happy or pleasant or fun to be around. Okay, my wife’s eyes just did a full 360, but you get the point. Physical appearance doesn’t always tell the whole story. Still, when there’s enough sunshine inside, some of it is bound to show through.

And it’s no surprise that these are the people we’re drawn to the most. Not because of their looks, but because of their inner radiance. There’s just something about them that we often can’t describe, but we know from the moment we first meet them that this is somebody we want to get to know better.

Is it a coincidence that positive people tend to radiate a little more sunshine from across the room? Can you tell by looking at somebody whether they’re upbeat or negative? Well, to an extent. It’s not in a pretty face or an attractive figure. Sure, those things may get your attention for a second, but it’s that inner glow that draws us to them.

You can see it in their smile. You can see it in the sparkle of their eyes. You can see it in their demeanor, in the way they interact with friends, even in the way they toss something into the trash. Some people are just happier and more fun to be around than others. Even on a bad day, they’re still pretty good.

I’m not saying a positive attitude will keep you looking young for the next ten or twenty years. In my case, that ship already sailed. But I do believe the characteristics we find most attractive in a person’s visual appearance just get better with age when they face life with a sense of hope, compassion, and happiness.

A candle is at its brightest after some of the wax has begun to melt. Halfway through its life, it begins to show signs of age. Wax drippings, like facial wrinkles, cover its outward appearance. But inside, where it counts the most, the surface is smooth and warm, and no matter how much wax drips down the side, it gives off that same warm glow to the very end.

For those who have posted their old and new pictures online, let me just say you’re more attractive now than ever. And it’s not because of luck, or because God loves you more than anyone else. It’s because you choose to be. Our skin may wrinkle, our bellies may grow, and our hair may lose its youthful luster. But that inner radiance still shines through for all to see.

We’re all aging, from the moment we’re born until the very end. And the day will come when your latest photo shows the inevitable signs of age. But it can never extinguish that inner fire as long as you choose to keep it alive. So, keep that fire burning. You never know how many more candles you may light along the way.

That’s all for now. Have an awesome day!

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

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