1. You bounce back from adversity faster.
It’s the scraped knee principle — remember when you were younger and would take a tumble, only to forget about it in five minutes? When you’re an adult, a lot of things aren’t all that easy to brush off, but rather than dwell on them, you still manage to dust yourself right back off and go at it again (though this time, smarter). After all, life’s too short to spend it dwelling on the scrapes and bruises. Sometimes the only way to get over a setback is to simply just try again.
2. You know how to prioritize.
People who are young at heart don’t let the things that aren’t important to them get under their skin. There’s a lot we need to care about from a day to day basis, and to spend too much time worrying about something that doesn’t give you joy or happiness is only going to bog you down. Whether you have lifelong dreams and goals, and have been working towards them since before you can even remember, or if you take on new priorities, you know what speaks to you, and feed your energy accordingly.
3. Your laughter is more genuine.
There’s too much to be happy about in this life to spend even a second of it on that fake, affected laugh that is either designed to give people a laugh when they seek it, or to make yourself seem like you’re engaging and having a good time. Spend less time worrying about what you sound like when you laugh and simply laugh. Laugh real. Laugh honestly. It will feel really, really good, and no matter how unattractive you think your laugh is, people are going to love it all the more because it will feel like they actually earned that.
4. You still believe in using your imagination.
There are so many things that can happen when you use that muscle so many of us lose touch with. You can trick yourself into pushing through to the end of a really hard project or workout; you know how to escape when things get a little tough; and you can mentally check out and recharge your batteries when you’re feeling a little drained. After all, even though we might not believe in Santa Claus or the Tooth Fairy anymore doesn’t believe that magic doesn’t exist — it is what we make of it, and it’s real if we say it is.
5. Life is an adventure, and you want to explore.
There’s always something new to discover and claim as yours, whether it’s a new restaurant, a new coffee shop hidden away in your neighborhood, a new book, or maybe even a new passion and hobby you never even knew you had inside yourself. We spend so much of our days going through routines and the same paths and habits, and breaking free only to stumble on something you never even knew you’d love is refreshing and can remind you about every little beautiful thing in this world.
6. You’re not afraid to voice your feelings.
It’s something we lose touch with as we grow older — we think people don’t care, so we stopper up how we really feel. That’s unhealthy, though, and when you’re young at heart, you know there’s catharsis in just saying exactly what you feel. It doesn’t matter how ungrounded or childish it may seem at first — a feeling is a feeling is a feeling, and the only way to hold yourself accountable to it is to first sift through it and discover why it is you feel that way. Let it out. Talk about it. Let people know when you’re upset, or scared, or angry. (And it’s just as important to let people know when you’re happy. That stuff’s contagious. Tell people. See how your happiness makes them happy, too.)
7. You know not to count things by age.
Wisdom exists in the strangest of places, and sometimes, it’s younger people who are wiser than those who think they know more. We’re born with all of these things like intuition and gut feelings, and overriding them to use logic isn’t always the best idea after all. Besides, if age ain’t nothing but a number, there’s something to the idea that you’re only ever as young as you feel. Perception can sometimes be everything.
8. You’re not afraid to get a little silly.
And not just funny — but just plain outrageously silly. Dancing in the middle of the bar when you’re the only one out of your seat but this song is too good to pass up, silly. Joking around with your friends and just going for the really dumb joke. Laughing at yourself when you trip on nothing and just need to be ridiculous. Forget how you think people are going to perceive you and just go for the laugh. If people think it’s weird, well, they just denied themselves a little bit of happiness. That’s nothing for you to worry yourself over.
9. You see the good in people.
When you’re young, you see the good in people from the outset. There are no judgments, no prejudices, nothing coloring your experience of someone other than who they are and how they act in that moment. And though the world may try to condition you to be cynical about it, people really do deserve the benefit of the doubt at first. People who are young at heart are also more willing to forgive and forget, because there are far more important things than holding grudges over things that have little bearing on your life.
10. You’re an optimist.
It may seem trendy to be cynical and jaded about so much, but that weighs you down really quickly and you’ll wind up only grinding yourself down and burning yourself out. Optimists aren’t people who think that bad things don’t or won’t happen — rather, they’re people who hold faith that everything is going to right itself, and that if you put in the effort, good things happen to people who do good things. And while all of these traits are interconnected, being young at heart is so much less about ascribing to certain theories, and more about just living every moment of your life for what it means to you in that moment, and growing from that.