Something to think about

Web Lead

How old would you be if you didn’t know your age?  Is youth chronological or pathological?  Are the young the only ones who are vital?  Is aging the same as getting old?  These are questions taken verbatim from an old issue of Alive magazine, unearthed from one of my equally old files.

Ageism is a way of pigeonholing people, by virtue of our advanced age and not allowing us to be individuals with unique ways of living our lives.  Have you noticed that younger people sometimes subtly cease to see their elders as human beings, but rather tottering, creaky critters that need help mentally as well as physically?  You know I’m generalizing, don’t you?

Certainly there are some of us who become senile and/or feebleminded; some of us are unable to do many things we used to.  But, most of us can carry on with our lives without much change into late old age.  And the changes that take place gradually can generally be adjusted to without too much trouble.

Time does not have to be toxic!  Longevity results from positive influences, many of them with out our control.  There may be a decline in stamina, but overall strength can remain.  The type of exercise may well change, however.  I recall being saddened when no longer able to attend Tai Chi classes, due to the fact that fifteen minutes was all I could handle before being totally wiped.  So, I continue to do a few Tai Chi movements and yoga positions when I have the energy.  C’est la vie!

Remaining youthful throughout life has more to do with lifestyle and attitude than straight physiology.  When we think of ‘cranky old people’, what’s missing?  Usually humour, enthusiasm, and a sense of purpose.  Those who exhibit these qualities are the ones who remain youthful and healthy throughout life.

Becoming a grandparent can carry old-fashioned ideas about how to act and how to dress.  The outer shell is a reflection of how people view themselves from the inside.  I still wear jeans and t-shirts – and I have eleven great-grandchildren.  To me, age is only a number (mine is 84), so I dress this physical body to be comfortable, and act the way I happen to feel inside at the time.  My hair is not white – it’s silver.  This sounds better.  I’m really too busy with life to be concerned with how people think of my actions or how I look.

Seniors are as different from one another as they are from people who are younger.  We don’t need to lose our personalities just because the clock is ticking.  Certainly there are many things I can no longer do, through lack of energy and physical strength, but I look at those things I’ve always loved to do and modify them so that I can still enjoy them.

I recall my mother, at age 93, awakening one morning to total blindness.  The shock must have been incredible.  She had just taken an art class and was totally enjoying painting.  After a period of grieving this loss, she said to herself, “enough of this,” and proceeded to the common room in the retirement room, sat down at the organ, and began to play.  I understand the applause from the other residents was deafening!  She continued to play the organ each afternoon for the next five years, and then peacefully went to her long sleep one night.  I’m proud of her.

So, let’s not quit!  So-called old age is the deterioration of enthusiasm, faith to live and the will to progress.  How about you?  It’s your choice.  Stop aging now!