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YOUTH

by Samuel Ullman

Youth is not a time of life ― it is a state of mind;

It is a temper of the will,

A quality of imagination,

A vigor of the emotions,

A predominance of courage over timidity,

Of the appetite for adventure over love ease.



Nobody grows only by merely living a number of years;

Peoples grow old only by deserting their ideals.

Years wrinkle the skin, but to give up enthusiasm wrinkles the soul.

Worry, doubt, self-distrust, fear and despair ―

These are the long, long years that bow the head and turn the growing spirit back to dust.



Whether seventy or sixteen,

There is in every being's heart the love of wonder,

The sweet amazement at the stars and the starlike things and thoughts,

The undoubted challenge of events,

The unfailling childlike appetite for what next,

And the joy and the game of life.



You are young as your faith, as old as doubt;

As young as your self-confidence, as old as your fear;

As young as your hope, as old as your despair.



So long as your heart receives messages of beauty,

Cheer, courage, grandeur and power from the earth,

From man and from the Infinite so long as your young.



When the wires are all down

And all the central place of your heart is covered with the snows of pessimism and the ice of cynicism,

Then you are grown old indeed

And may God have mercy on your soul.


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