Friday, 7 June 2013

The Truth About Growing Old.

This post by Mr Peter Yew from Negri Sembilan, Malaysia ((Link) resonates perfectly with me and I would like to share it with you, especially those of you who're in the same age band like both of us.


I am 65 so I think I qualify sharing my thoughts on this. Add more or disagree in your comments.

1. Old people are not necessary the wisest. They still make mistakes, they still learn. The big question is whether their ego is too big to make them humble to admit their imperfections.

2. Dying is inevitable. Growing old is the last leg towards that destination. There is no point resisting it or spending a fortune delaying it.

3. Aging is not pleasant. Seldom do people age without suffering. Pain and illnesses are constant companions. The bodies will shut down progressively including the brains. Learn to live a more limited lifestyle no matter what others may say. Don't fall or injure yourself. Healing is slower and more complicated. Your misfortune will be your family's misfortune and inconvenience.

4. Be yourself. Don't envy your peers who are better off or try to emulate them. Blame it on your forefathers for the bad DNA if you must but realize no one is born, or die, perfect.

5. Don't try to be a health freak and follow advices and tips from lifestyle and health magazines. They want to make your money. Understand your own limitations and stay safe. Don't feel guilty if you can't workout or walk if that is not your habit. We are all born different. Be content and happy for your present state of life. The best advice is still enjoy your old age for there is no other time.

6. The one constant throughout life is time. A minute at birth is the same as at death, only the value of it changes. In old age you become more aware of time because you are more free to think about it. Try to involve in work if you can, or immerse yourself in recreations to free yourself from thinking about the passage of time. You will not be a slave to wasted time and regret not fulfilling anything meaningful.

7. You will be frustrated, angry and difficult. Don't apologize. It has to do with internal frustration against what we want (from our brain) and what we can (from our body). It also has to do with the cumulative unresolved hurt and ill feelings that you are discharging because you feel it is your right to demand a closure, your way. But remember you are a piece in the family you belong to and as imperfect as each member is so are you. Seek peace and forgiveness. Don't grieve the living by the outpouring of your anger. Growing old and dying is like reading the final chapter of a novel. At the end you must close the book and put it away. Likewise your life must be similarly closed.

8. Friends always have your best interest when they encourage and advise you. Do what you like and don't be pressured. On the other hand be open to consider them. The past is not always the best and opportunities to discover more exist if you learn to let go of whatever that holds you back.

9. Old people often have regrets. This is normal and not to be ashamed. One of the regrets is not being able to live the perfect life or be the perfect companion or parent. Realize that regrets are like parasites that live on you and draw away your love of living. Also accept that nobody will blame you for being imperfect. All they want is to know that you have walked out of their lives making a difference. So be a positive changer.

10. Lastly, learn to be thankful. For whatever state we are in when we grow old and die, nothing changes. Wealth may in fact be a curse to those who cannot control it. Power may corrupt our life if we fail to understand it. Our minds are often influenced by envy for the worldly goods. In growing old and dying long for the heavenly goods instead. Accept the goodwill of your family and friends. Follow and don't resist. Just as you were helplessly and mercifully delivered into this world so accept that you will likewise be delivered into the next.


By sharing Mr. Peter Yew's wise, witty, and insightful observations, I hope I've inspired you to think more positively about your own aging and to gain a better perspective on ways to live as happily and as long as you can.

Below are some quotes on aging from famous people: 

1. "Too many people, when they get old, think that they have to live by the calendar." John Glenn (1921-)

As the oldest person to board a U.S. Space Shuttle at age 77, Senator John Glenn exemplified the view that we shouldn't let age define us. The calendar is a useful way to let you know the date, but if you let yourself be hemmed in by your chronological age, you may lock yourself out of potentially valuable opportunities.

2. "I have reached an age when, if someone tells me to wear socks, I don't have to." Albert Einstein (1879-1955)

Einstein seemed to have the ability to produce more witticisms than the average physicist.  In this case, he expresses the sentiment that many older adults seem to feel, as evidenced by research showing that older adults have lower scores on a measure called "self-discipline"  By the time they reach their later years, individuals feel better able to express themselves rather than being hemmed in by society's proscriptions.

3. "By the time you're eighty years old you've learned everything. You only have to remember it." George Burns (1896-1996)

The ultimate wise old man, George Burns expresses an observation that, although probably unknown to him, has its basis in empirical data about aging and memory. Researchers believe that one of the challenges to memory that older adults face is the ability to retrieve the information they have already acquired. With this knowledge, you can avail yourself of memory strategies that will allow you to maximize the ability to store and retrieve the memories you strive to retain. 

4. "At age 20, we worry about what others think of us. At age 40, we don't care what they think of us. At age 60, we discover they haven't been thinking of us at all." Ann Landers (1918-2002)
The guru of advice columns who reminds us that as people get older, they move away from the egocentric concerns of youth to the more realistic perceptions of midlife and older adults, who realize that they are not the center of the universe.  As a result, older adults are free to do what they want, not constrained by what they construe to be the opinions of others (who themselves are thinking only about themselves).

5."Old age hath yet his honour and his toil." Alfred Lord Tennyson (1809-1892)

I like this quote on aging and work. Although we tend to think of older adults as less productive employees than their younger counterparts, the opposite is true. From the age of 55 and onwards, workers are better employees in terms of their reliability and even, in many vocational fields, of productivity We might wish that aging carried with it more "honour" than it does in a society that seems to value youth, but as Tennyson pointed out, there are many reasons that it should.

6. "Because I could not stop for death – He kindly stopped for me." Emily Dickinson (1830-1886)

The idea that death can be "kind" fits with what experts in the field of death and dying call the "tame" view of death. It's not that death steals us of life, but that it brings us to a beneficent ending. 

7."Grow old along with me! The best is yet to be." Robert Browning (1812-1889)

This very inspiring characterization of old age fits with the concept of "successful aging," provides the view that it is possible to enjoy your later years in a way that exceeds your expectations. Listen to this Glen Campbell song " Grow Old With Me".

1 comment:

Gintai_昇泰 said...

It's true that as you grow older and age, you become much more time conscious and aware of our mortality and it's impermanence.