Or Is That A Myth?
Ever since I was a child, I have been mentally trained and indoctrinated to view old age as something related to misery, grief, regret, disease and solitude. I was always scared of getting old and join the club of the desolate, wrinkled and miserable. I didn’t think they could do anything, but now I realise how wrong I was. It doesn’t matter that sometimes being old means that you might be slow. It doesn’t matter that you might need a step lift installed in your house to help you. Growing old is a beautiful thing.
The age-old idiom “Old age is a regret” (Benjamin Disraeli) always rang the alarm bells in my mind. I was never really comfortable with the idea of “getting old” until I started to and discovered the pleasures of “ageing” (this is what I call getting old now).
Magic Of Being Old
Beautiful were the days that I spent with my grandmother – about a year in total if I recall. It was a time that made me feel the “magic of being old.” My grandmother would narrate stories of the days gone by for hours on end. She talked so much sense with such serenity. That was the first time I felt that grace comes with ageing, coupled with framing and presenting your ideas with clarity of thought. I call it the “fine art of ageing.”
Age we have to since our biological clocks tick all the time. We go through the phases of life; from a child to a parent and ultimately a grandparent in most cases. A lot changes in each phase of our life but one thing that does not change is the fact we are getting old with every passing day. We pass through various and varying experiences that shape our lives, ideals and perceptions.
The older we get, the richer in experience we become. Every day that we live brings experiences, more to learn and how to make amends. These are the foundation for a better tomorrow, and avenues for us to be as good as we can. As we “grow in perception” with ageing, we become better human beings. This is not to be confused with ‘healthier human’. We become more understanding and more humble. As we intentionally “grow” with age, as we strive to learn and better behave with each other – that is what I call the “fine art of ageing.”
Could Old Age Really Be A Regret?
One of the most astonishing comments that I consider is “You haven’t changed a bit in the last 20 years!” Sometimes this is referring to physical conditions that the observer finds acceptable. However, if it relates to the mental state and behaviors, which is taken as a compliment by the receiver, then I strongly believe that the person never “grew up” and “never really learnt.” To me, that is a waste of precious years.
Old to me is an embodiment of richness of experiences, expression, graces and just about everything “positive” that is associated with the process of ageing.
You can be ailing; you may be going through social isolation and depression. BUT you have a beautiful memory lane to walk down. You can never be alone with your nostalgia and the richness of that feeling.
Old age can never be regret if you living the fine art of ageing.
How to live this word “old?” Mentally connect with your physical condition and learn to enjoy your realities and not following your fantasies. I would end with one of my favorite, tongue-in-cheek quotes:
One of the best things of getting older: knowing someone is an asshole before they speak!”
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