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Jean Youn: September and the fresh breeze of youth

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Photo courtesy Guest Blogger Jean Youn

Photo courtesy Guest Blogger Jean Youn

An advertisement was posted in a newspaper in Ohio in 1979.

<Escape from dull everyday life! Enliven senescence!>

Qualification: Men of an age between the late seventies and the early eighties. Task: Profound discussion about memories while traveling for a week. Fee: None (Paying a fixed amount for expenses) Benefit: Free traveling costs.


Eight men from the applicants were selected. They were old men who had deep wrinkles and blotches on their faces and for whom just standing up seemed to be a hard task.

They arrived at an old convent by bus. They were given two rules to observe at the convent. During the one-week stay there, though they could do anything they wanted to do, they had to observe these two rules.

The first one was that they had to think and act as they had done twenty years ago. In other words, they should have thoughts as the same, and speak in the same way as, when it was twenty years ago. As a part of this, they had to watch twenty-year old TV programs and movies. When the eight old men heard the first rule, they seemed to respond, “Well, that will be so easy.”

The second was that they had to do chores, such as cleaning and washing dishes, by themselves. They complained about the second rule, “We don’t have enough strength to keep ourselves steady. How can you ask us to do such things?”

What they heard was that, “If you cannot follow the rules, you should go back home.”

They decided to give a reluctant consent to follow the second rule, too.

So, they spent days in cleaning, washing dishes and clothes as if it were twenty years ago.

In just the seven days during which they lived in the same way as when it was twenty years ago, all of them who participated in the program were revitalized to the level of the age of their fifties, physically and mentally, in terms of vision, hearing ability, memory, intellectual faculties, grasping power, etc.

I didn’t make up this story. It is from a book, “Counterclockwise,” which was written by Ellen. J. Langer, a psychology professor at Harvard University.

It is September beginning with the Labor Day weekend. It is the end of a long summer and the beginning of fall.

The fresh breeze of youth blows not from the outside, but from the inside of our minds. Don’t you think so?

I wish that you’ll have a September overflowing with good and happy news.


Jean Youn is the owner of Value Village Cleaners at 912 West Glenoaks Boulevard in Glendale 91202. For details on services, coupons and more, check out the Value Village Cleaners website here .

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