Thoughts on Aging Gracefully6:26 PM
Medical experts agree that the key to aging gracefully lies primarily on attitude. It is accepting the inevitable changes whether it is physical, emotional, social, or in the perception of other people. Failure to accept these changes can lead to unhappiness or even depression for some.
Human beings grow old and included in this process is the natural decline in physical and mental capabilities. It also comes with a lot of health issues. Although proper care for the body can help in avoiding certain medical conditions, health issues will always be a primary concern in aging.
Physical aging however is not the main issue for most people past 50. It is more on the feeling that they have somewhat depreciated in value and usefulness. Society and family have a lot to do about this "feeling". Many well-intended actions of loved ones and people in general tend to put older people in a specific mold beset with limitations.
My Thoughts When I was 12
When I was about the age of 12 and my parents where even younger than I am now, my perception of them was that they are old. I was under the impression that they are no longer able to do most of the things that young people can. While it may be true for many physical tasks, being in the shoes of my parents now made me realize how mistaken I was when it came to other aspects. Age does not necessarily limit the possibilities.
I felt I can do anything and everything at this age. I wanted to accomplish them fast before I get too old to finish them. Then life taught me that not everything is based on age.
My Thoughts Forty years After
Working in an environment where the bulk of the work force belong to the young generation has brought me back several times to my 12 year-old perceptions. This time however, I am now looking at myself from the other side. During a recent reunion with my college friends, we all marveled at the fact that we never really thought of ourselves as old. Our numerical age says we are "old" but all of us felt that nothing really changed, setting aside our medical woes.
We still felt we can do what we want but this time armed with the wisdom of acceptance of the realities of life. We no longer look at life through a single straight path towards our goals. I would like to believe that we have learned to find meaning along our journeys as we faced the many intersections thrown at our paths. It would seem that we have discovered the art of aging gracefully.
Aging gracefully is certainly not merely about looking youthful even as we advance in age. Although eternal youth is admittedly a much desired physical state, aging with grace can be achieved with acceptance of the changes that is part of life. We can do that by finding meaningful activities that will make us happy and fulfilled.
What is extremely wonderful about every additional year that is given us is the wisdom we can only acquire through time. We can proudly say we are survivors because we have to realize that growing old is a privilege not given to everybody. We can do more by focusing of what we can still do instead of what we can no longer do.
That said, let no one dictate what you can or cannot do, not even your age. You know yourself better. I will always keep that in mind as I celebrate my 52nd birthday today with gratitude and deeper understanding of my purpose in life.