This post was written by Bhasmank Mehta, Posted on 7th March 2016,Updated on 9th March 2016
Humans, by very nature have an ambition to live long. Not only an ambition to live long but to live to eternity! The odd thing however, is that along with the longevity, this very human has no place for old age within the programme. The old age that creeps in very quietly and is totally unnoticed until its arrival.
Whilst worrying on and on about the growth of those wrinkles on the face, the grey hair that has sat its mark on the scalp, the boldness that looks like a runway suddenly appear to have gate-crashed into your life.
When your beautician, your hair dresser and your dentist shakes ones head in despair – more so in the western world – it’s time to realise that you are now already old.
An individual looking old due to the effects of wear-and-tear on the body is natural. If however, the mind becomes old first, the body will move into the fast track and appears to be older, sooner than anticipated.
Person on the way to being old starts to look in the past. The phrases such as “in those days”, “in our days”, “when we were or I was young” become more common descriptions within any form of conversations. Person approaching old age tend to loosen the flow of progressive life. Quite the opposite seen or experienced amongst the younger people. Their enthusiasm towards the progress of life is overwhelming.
There are many characteristics of old age. One most noticed is the fear of tackling any new situation or a challenge. Once one starts feeling scared of confronting new challenges, one must realise that one is now feeling the arrival of ageing. There is no hard and fast rule in ones life or in ones society as to when one departs from being young to becoming old. The primary sign of noticeable old age is thru one’s behaviour.
The young, will not only face most challenges but will confront them fearlessly. The young do not fear new situations. They actually dive into those situations head first. More so, they continuously look for new situations to embrace them. The eagerness and excitement tend to beg their leave when the young decide to be on the path to being old. Contentment replaces egoism. Life is not a struggle any more. It slowly subsides from exciting challenges and positive outlook to satisfaction and contentment to detachment and fear of confrontation to the point of becoming negative and even recluse.
This type of attitude is not only a danger for that individual but can also be contagious whereupon the old age can creep in even earlier. Confronting new challenges or more so, the lack of it, is not only a human stigma; it is universal. A polar bear continues to survive at the poles and a tropical bear will continue to survive in the tropics. Neither will attempt to explore either’s territories.
Consider a lion, a tiger, an elephant or any other animal for that matter; they are all used to their own ways of living. They have settled in their own ways. The birds that live in the hollows of a tree trunk or at the highest point of a tall tree will never change their ways to alter their ways of lives. The point raised here is that all living creatures are victims of circumstances or rather situations. They will not change.
Both types of bear described above are identical in every respect but for the colour of their fur. But will not survive in other’s place or environment. An elephant or a rhino are considered to be very strong but will not climb on a tree. The largest mammal, the blue whale, will not roam around on land.
Only a human tries to control its behaviour and destiny. That is the real difference between a man and a beast. A man, who wants to conquer the situation beyond approach, either with an aid of a submarine to reach the bottom of the deepest part of the ocean or with help of a rocket to reach the surface of the moon and beyond.
Human will not only take those calculated risks but will also jump into the unknown – the uncalculated risks. Unfortunately, or more appropriately, sadly, these risks will diminish into safety first as one gets older. The imagination no longer plays part in ones life.
In this ever increasing problem of ageing, one will seek safety and security in job, maintain steady business without introducing new elements in the fear of making a loss, will avoid unnecessary travelling and so on. Although there is nothing wrong in adopting this type of attitudes, the problem is that these additional securities soon become a self imposed prisons and life suddenly becomes a monotonous routine.
When a man first went out to hunt, new situations would have occurred with different routes being adopted each time. Then when that man settled down to farm, different types of situations became their challenges such as the weather, type of soil, location and so on. Having done with the farming, one had to confront difficulties in storing the produce and then arranging the long distance transportation. The risks did not stop there. Ambition meant movement between continents over land, by sea or even flying. Man has continuously conquered numerous situations and challenges.
Having taken all these risks in the past, humans have now settled down a little bit in this twenty-first century. More precautions are in place but the risks are still envisaged or shall we say, embraced. This, although being a general view point, we – as an individual – tend to give-up on life completely as our age catches up with the level of activity that the body can handle. Conversion or human transformation between excitement, contentment or reassignment and resigning is as natural as night following day and day following night. As one resigns towards helplessness, one will feel that the old age is fast approaching. This is the first step towards knocking on the doors of the funeral directors. You are now upgrading your speed towards becoming old. If mind gets old, your body has no chance of any recovery. However, if the body becomes old, the mind can still be young and make the body alter its way of life.
If all this sounds slightly off-putting and negative and want to stop the rut setting in – the body may start to become a bit wrinkled and the hair may turn grey but if you want to stop your mind from becoming old then stop avoiding new situation entering in your attitude. Keep confronting those challenges, keep your mind active. Don’t let frustration take over your life. Stop saying “I used to …” or “when I was ….”
An old Irish saying so aptly fits here,”You are not as young as you used to lie but you are not yet as old as you’re going to be.”
If we remember this sentence and follow its inner meaning, our minds will not realise that our body is getting old and so WILL be able to Live Our Lives.
Also worth noting is another phrase, “Worrying about getting old in itself will make you old!”
May Your God Always Be With You Your comments will greatly be appreciated including how I can improve on my writing.