Posts Tagged ‘age’

When does old age begin?

October 24, 2018

I turned 64 yesterday, and was musing on what old age is, and when it begins.

Certainly, as I grew up, the horizons of old age shifted. In my childhood, 60 was an unimaginable old age, and life expectancy being what was in India then, a man who turned 60 would have a big ceremony to mark the occasion.

When I first started travelling abroad, I was much struck by the fact that people in the “developed” countries of the west…and many people in eastern countries…seemed to be hale and healthy at what I considered an advanced age. The trains I took in Switzerland were full of 80 year olds, having a good time as they enjoyed the relaxation of a life after work and career.

Of my immediate family, my parents both died at 66, and my mother in law at 59. None of my parents’ siblings made it beyond 70. My father-in-law an inveterate walker and cyclist, lived up to 87, but it was dependent and sick old age for the last few years, after a series of strokes, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s took their toll on his physical and mental health.

In spite of all that, the increase in the average life expectancy began to reflect in many other extended family members and friends. As I grew old, 50 became the new 40, and now, 60 took up the same position too. I have friends’ parents who are in their eighties, living independently and enjoying reasonably good health.

One of the most unusual example of old age I have seen was my WASP son-in-law’s paternal grandfather. With the help of two consecutive pacemakers, he made it to an independent 101. And then he did something which I have not seen anyone else do…he took charge of his destiny and After a few episodes of congestive heart failure, decided he’d had a full life. He asked his pacemaker to be switched off, and passed away the next day after that.The only parallel I know for this was the story of Bhishma in the Mahabharata, who had the boon of “icchA maraNam” (death at one’s own will) and exercised that will when he decided that his life’s work of protecting the kingdom was over.

Today, I am surrounded by so many people of my age, or older, and what I notice is the importance of good health in their happiness. Independence of life, and good health, are the essential parameters, I find, of a good quality of life in one’s sixties, and beyond.

But an intangible which I think very important …is…the ability to also get along with people younger….and much younger….than one. I can truly say that I don’t seem to consider someone’s age in interacting with them; I have very close friends who are 20 years older than I am, and 30 years younger. I am so lucky in being able to enjoy the company of children so much that I find the thought of a senior citizen’s home, where there may not be many children, not appealing at all….yet!

Another intangible is the attitude we bring to age. Far too often do I see people who are young, thinking of anyone beyond a certain age, to be “old”. Also, many of the people I see, of my own age, seem to think they are “old”, and begin moaning and groaning about their small ailments. At 50, a friend told me,”Our lives are over, now we have to live for our children!” I disagree. I love my child, but I can’t live only for her! In fact, perhaps my keeping up my own interests and activities, and the fact of my having friends of all ages, has kept me healthy…I am not so sure of this, though!

This is because good health, unfortunately, is not always the guaranteed result of regular habits and a disciplined life. Illness and disease come out of nowhere and strike hard, making a mockery (mocking a makery?) of one’s will to be independent. Dependent, and sickly, old age, is a daily torture. The ageless personality in the suffering body chafes at the restrictions that hedge and control life.

So what is the point of all this musing? Er, nothing…it’s just musing…meandering, and possibly a sign of old age. Three sure signs of mental “old age”, according to me, are….1. A perpetual harking back to the good old days, and a feeling that the quality of life has gone down in all ways; mores and values have deteriorated. 2. What a wit called anec-dotage…the tendency to live in that now-glowing past, and recount endless stories of one’s prime.

And 3…the tendency, in the age of the internet, to keep on forwarding stuff! When I start sending you forwards (instead of sharing my own thoughts) regularly, can you come and snuff me out,please? Thank you!

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When I’m gone…

July 27, 2014

When I’m gone…when my time is done..
Let me rest my weary head.

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In the softest of flowers,
Upon a petal bed.

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When the blooms wither,
When the colours turn to lead…

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We’ll both return in the spring.
Neither of us…is dead.

What is my definition of age?

December 26, 2013

On an FB post of mine (which is where, now, all the interesting conversations and debates happen for me….LJ is a closed door), someone asked me, “What is your definition of age?”

Hmmm….let me think.

Just…the addition of Anno Domini.

We all age, in different ways. My age does not necessarily confer wisdom or maturity on me…and if I don’t learn from experience, all the expeirience of life is just a passing show, too. Age, to me, is (nothing more than) the time elapsed since I arrived on Earth.

To me, wrinkles, white hair, lack of muscle tone, the general beginnings of complaints from various parts of the body…are part of the parcel. I do what I can to take care of myself, on a moderate level, but the rest I leave as Nature’s gifts.

What I do try to do, is to convert my life’s experiences into wisdom, maturity, and grace. That is a hard task, and I am not very successful, I am afraid.

So…to me…aging is different from maturing, and I want to do the latter…I have no control over the former.

And talking of age…do you want to see what I looked like at 24? Here…

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Memories are made of these…

August 13, 2013

DSC05961 1 fthr son tilles pk110813

In the days to come, my son,
You will revisit this place.
Feel my arm around you.
The sun on your face.
You’ll remember the view….
When my day is done.

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Missing someone after a hundred years?

December 27, 2011

How can you miss someone “day in, day out” after a hundred years?

click here for this interesting obit

What a long-lived family they must be, if they know her well enough to miss her, after a hundred years!

….and don’t miss the “US Americans”….!

Age, and maturity

September 27, 2011

I don’t know why my blog (Live Journal) suddenly opened at the same date, but it did, and

here

is what I wrote, 3 X 365 days ago!

Still working on it….yes, a little more acceptance, but not enough!

Different Perceptions About Age….

August 28, 2008

Another friend condoled with me yesterday, and said the same thing I had posted about earlier…”At this age, we should expect and be resigned to such losses.” This friend, too, is pushing sixty.

I realize that,first of all, these people imagine my brother to be sixty or over…surely they wouldn’t say such a thing if they knew he was fifty?!

And in our culture (I am talking mainly of the Tambram community to which I , and both friends who made that observation, belong) we are conditioned to think of anyone over fifty as “old”….so perhaps, death is easier for them to accept.

I am 53, will be turning 54 in a couple of months…but as long as I am in good health and enjoying life so much, I don’t feel “old” at all. I am very lucky that I am able to relate to people irrespective of their age or mine; I can have equally long and interesting conversations/ spend a lot of time with my 10-year old neighbour or my dad’s friend who is 87….it’s their personalities I interact with. It’s a great gift, and I am grateful for it.

Age brings so many gifts, too. There is an acceptance of one’s physical appearance, of one’s capabilities and faults, which is NOT there at a younger age when one knows one can improve oneself in many ways. The majority of one’s social and family obligations have been carried out. I have been able to get interested in a whole variety of new things, and the learning carries on. I have (I hope!) become more tolerant of people, and am trying constantly shed the judgmental (alas, typically Tambram!) I-am-morally-superior-to-everyone attitude that I find difficult to accept in others. I am still not able to control my temper or my emotions, but I am a little better than I used to be. The journey to conquering myself will continue, but I am able to look back and see that I *have* made some progress (I sound so superior and prissy myself now!)

But…I am not ready to retire into a corner and get my dentures fitted and wither away slowly. I have just as much zest for life today as I had when I was 20, and probably am enjoying it more, having come to terms with more than I had back then.

And I want my near and dear ones, *whatever* their age, to be healthy and happy too. No, I will NOT expect and be resigned to “losses”. If they happen, I will have to deal with that; b Death may come to me and be dealt with, but I won’t go in advance to Death and deal with it!

PS. these are only my opinions and thoughts; I don’t expect others to always agree.

Is age a disease?

February 19, 2008

Here’s an ad:

> From Olay: http://www.frederiksamuel.com/blog/2008/02/olay-2.html

I just cannot understand the way we are being culturally conditioned to think of age and its physical manifestations on skin or body tone, as something negative, to be combated with as expensive cosmetics, or surgery. (I am all in favour of regular exercise, but not for “looking young” as a goal, but for physical fitness.)

Age comes, hopefully, with many compensations. I no longer have the horrible mood swings and irritability that go with parts of my abdomen.(I am now irritable and moody ALL of the time.) I have discharged many of the responsibilities of my life and am a fairly free bird. Yes, I may be a bird whose feathers sag in certain places, but if I never was one for a G-string, why should I be bothered about the forces of G? My skin is not taut and supple and smooth, but I actually have far less pimples and outbreaks than I had in the prime of my youth.

I look my age, and I am quite happy to have it that way. From a youth in which every little blemish would cause me to agonize that I was not beautiful or perfect, I have come to a lovely (pun intended) comfortable (madrasi_in_mo and mriga, that word is especially to tickle you!) situation where I am very happy and accepting of my appearance, and though vanity rears its head now and again, it has, for the most part, been conquered.

Why on earth, then, should I get back into an unwinnable battle against Anno Domini? If I am 47 and can make myself look 41 with Oil of Expense, that is very sad, because I am 53…and if I use that ad’s way of hiding my age, the number will go UP to 58!

Oh well, the cosmetic, and the cosmetic surgery, industries have to survive, too….so all you 38’s out there, go out and buy all those tiny bottles of Age-Reducers With Real Diamond Particles In Them with Baby-Skin Hydroxide crystals and Fountain-Of-Youth complex carbides!

Young and Old, Life and Death

October 13, 2007

Young people
Value life less.
It lies before them, unspent,
Waiting to be squandered..
So a new cosmetic or a dress is “to die for”
And an embarassing moment means, “I could have died”…
And, indeed, they do kill themselves–
Over emotions,disappointments,frustrations,desires.

But old people
Know how precious life is.
Like a man who has spent most of his money,
And has not much more left…
They know what they have got from the days they have lived,
They do not want to waste the rest of it.
You’ll not hear an older person say, “I’d rather *die* than do that.”
Death to them is an approaching companion, not an option.
As the prospect of death advances, the grip on life becomes more tenacious.

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That’s why it’s tragic when a young person dies
While an old, toothless crone lives on,
In a helpless,vegetable state,
Absorbing the meagre resources of a family.

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Life..is not fair,not logical,not simple…

I remember a couple of lines from a Hindi film song:

hum tumhE chAhtE hein aisE
marnE vAlA koi zindagi chAhtA hO aise…

I want you, the way someone about to die wants life…

The two are different..

September 27, 2007

Age is one thing, maturity quite another.

When will I get the maturity to accept the things that have bothered me….friendships that are over, lack of understanding from even close ones sometimes, the fact that dead people will never be around again…what should be simple to accept is NOT.

I keep trying to grow as a person, but with such limited success. Calmness vanishes, emotions rule, I lose my peace of mind.

Truly, the most difficult conquests are those within ourselves.