“Experience is a revelation in the light of which we renounce our errors of youth for those of age.” Ambrose Bierce
Before 74 year old body builder, Ernestine Shepherd, started getting a lot of well deserved press for her fantastic physique, there was Marjorie Newlin, an 86 year old body builder who stunned us with her youthful physique and energy. Many of us fear the aging process and fight it with plastic surgery, however, we have the option to choose a sound and carefully developed exercise routine to help us stay fit. Yes, genetics do factor in, but that shouldn’t deter us from doing all we can to help our bodies and minds stay sharp.
In some cultures, the elderly are revered and treated with great respect. In my father’s village and many others, back in Nigeria, the elders are consulted for their wisdom and experience. They belong to special groups and attend events together; sharing their knowledge and stories of the olden days. When they pass away, their funerals are usually a celebration of lives well lived; tears of sadness mixed with a lot of joyful tributes.
In Western societies, living a long and full life is still valued, but there seems to be a disconnect between living a long life and getting old. It seems to me that the common message tends to be; living a long life is good but getting old is bad. As long as we are alive, old age is inevitable. If old age is inevitable, why are many frightened about getting old then? Losing control of faculties, wrinkles, health issues, and becoming invisible are some reasons I’ve heard, but we don’t have to give up our effort to stay healthy and age gracefully.
As a child, I wanted to grow up so I could attend the special meetings my grandmother and her peers attended. I wanted to be a member of the group of wise old elder women in the village. I admired their careful deliberations and wise decisions. By my teen years, however, something shifted inside; call it excessive exposure to TV culture and Ads that glorified youth, as those innocent wishes flew out the window. It is ironic that at age 15, a 30 year old was old and a 50 year old was ancient to me… Now, years later, I find myself echoing friends who say 50 is the new 30. Yes, it certainly is, and why not? After all, we’ve come a long way baby… So, what led me to this subject? Today, I got some very funny jokes via email; they were about what could happen to us as we get old. They got me thinking about aging again… I have added a few below. Enjoy and share your feedback.
“I don’t believe one grows older. I think that what happens early on in life is that at a certain age one stands still and stagnates.” T.S. Eliot
Three sisters, ages 92, 94 and 96, live in a house together. One night, the 96 year old draws a bath. She puts her foot in and pauses. She yells to the other sisters, “Was I getting in or out of the bath?”
The 94-year-old yells back, ‘I don’t know. I’ll come up and see.’ She
starts up the stairs and pauses, ‘Was I going up the stairs or down?
The 92-year-old is sitting at the kitchen table having tea listening to
her sisters, shakes her head and says, ‘I sure hope I never get
that forgetful, knock on wood.’ She then yells, ‘I’ll come up and help
both of you as soon as I see who’s at the door’
As a senior citizen was driving down the freeway, his car phone rang.
Answering, he heard his wife’s voice urgently warning him, “Herman, I just
heard on the news that there’s a car going the wrong way on Interstate77.
Please be careful!” “Heck,” said Herman, “It’s not just one car. It’s hundreds of them!”
While the humorous stories above do portray some of what we might experience as we age, it isn’t everyone’s experience. We do have the ability to not live a life of quiet desperation. As the quote by Thoreau below suggests, we can age well by making what he calls a conscious endeavor. We can choose to conquer that fear today and see the blessing in having a long life and good health. We owe that much to ourselves. “I know of no more encouraging fact than the unquestionable ability of man to elevate his life by conscious endeavor.” Henry David Thoreau What are your thoughts? What shape are you in and how do you feel about aging? What would you like to improve? Do share! Thank you.
This post was inspired by a Daily Post prompt: What is a fear you think you can conquer today?
Positive Motivation Tip: We can choose to age gracefully bu taking care of ourselves or fight it all the way… The choice is ours.
- 7 Ways Your Body Gets Better With Age (everydayhealth.com)
- Getting Beyond the Fear of Aging (alwayswellwithin.com)
- Aging and Sexual Health (everydayhealth.com)
- Healthy Aging, Happy Aging (everydayhealth.com:80)