The most memorable years of my life have been spent working with children; my favorites were the eleven to fourteen-year-olds. Middle school children are unpredictable. They can be painfully honest, say something profound for their years and shift their attention with lightening speed. They permanently shifted my attitude and provided me with what I call, The Elixir of Youth: an ability to thrive with change, be open to new ideas, live in the moment, step lightly through adversity and keep a joyous heart.

Conversely, our fear of change and a rigidity in thinking closes the windows to joy. When health or relationships seem in jeopardy, it’s comforting to connect with others to share our fears and worries. However, turning to the positive reduces fear and increases healing. It takes practice and awareness to remember to refocus. When I do remember, my energy expands, and my vibrancy returns. My friend, Jackie, who is 82 is my role model. She’s the first one to volunteer for something new; her laughter is infectious, and she points out the positive in whatever life sends her way. She’s still a middle schooler on the inside.

Vibrancy is a state of mind. I like to tell stories of aliveness and appreciation that allow my mind and body to navigate a joyful life. Flow and trust are key. Knowing my time on this planet is finite, when difficult situations arise, I let them flow through me and shift to play and exuberance. Anything is possible if you believe it so.