Looking back upon my early years of life, I wonder whether I was hyperactive. Or perhaps, I was just a boy. However, I was always being told to act my age. In addition, I might have suffered from ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder) because I found it difficult to put this admonition into practice. Whether I was fighting with my brother at five or disrupting my eighth grade English class, I never seemed to have acted age-appropriate. Now that I am fifty-five years old and it has been nearly a half-century since I first heard my parents say, "Allen, act your age," I am glad that I haven't learned how to do that.

Finally, my immaturity might be paying off for me. I have reached the age where some of my friends are starting to show their age. They are gaining a lot of weight, not exercising, and generally settling into a sedentary life. They also are complaining to their doctors about aches and pains associated with growing old. Many of my friends are beginning the slippery slide down the slope to old age. The thing that bothers me about this is that they aren't resisting it. They are giving up the battle against aging without even putting up a fight-a fight for their lives. They seem like sheep going to the slaughter-the slaughter of their youth. These aging lambs are lining up for the butchery of old age without even a whimper.

However, all of us seem preoccupied with not looking our age and will do nearly anything to look younger. We purchase products to keep our hair growing on our heads. And not being satisfied with the color of our remaining hair, we add pigments to our ever graying and thinning locks. Some even try to reduce wrinkles with creams and salves. The problem with these cures is that they don't attack the real problem; they merely produce cosmetic changes to the aging process. What we need is an internal cure that can reverse or at least slow down the aging process.

I have been working on just such a cure for growing old for a long time. My solution is a simple but effective one-do not to act your age. Instead of acting age-appropriately, why not act younger? My solution is to subtract ten to twenty years from your present age. Next, think about how a person at that age would act, behave, and think. For example, if you are presently sixty-five, ask yourself how would a person in his late forties act? Instead of sitting around more and more, start moving around more and more. Do things that you did before you turned fifty. Experiment with listening to the music of younger people. If you are soon to be fifty, check out what a thirty-something person is wearing. Above all, don't act your age. Get active and stay active physically, mentally, and emotionally.

Next, take on a positive mental attitude about your age. Assume that your birth certificate contains your wrong birth date. Live with that new mindset, and it will peel away years from your present age.

Henry Ford said, "You can believe you can. Or you can believe you can't. Either way, you will be correct." You determine your own reality. If you are just putting in time before you die, you will escalate the speed of your demise. On the other hand, if you act younger than you actually are, you will have a longer and more productive life.

Try out these suggestions for a month: act ten to twenty years younger than you actually are. Associate with younger people, act like they act, and most importantly, start thinking like them. Assume that your mother's obstetrician made a mistake when filling out your birth certificate.

I am absolutely positive that this will work. I have seen the opposite work, and it is deadly. Put some one in a nursing home, and it isn't long before that person loses some of his or her zest for life and independence. The person soon starts to act at what is for that institution the lowest common denominator. The new person begins to adopt the behavioral level that he or she sees others demonstrating. Therefore, try my cure for aging-don't act your age. It has kept me young for years. Try it; you'll like the results.

This article first appeared in the Dixon Telegraph.