Is old age a time to collect your bus pass, curl up with your horlicks and serenely await your impending exit from life?
Many people, including the retired themselves, see old age is a negative way. They see their declining physical abilities as a reason to draw back and retire from many activities they used to enjoy. However, does old age have to be the embarrassing left overs of life? There is no reason why old age can not give as much inspiration, enjoyment and newness as our formative student years. Perhaps they can be even better, as we have probably learnt by bitter experience, that happiness does not come through drinking 10 pints of beer and trying to impress our friends.
Do Not give Up.
It is true that in old age our faculties will not be as good. Our hearing, eyesight e.t.c will be a little diminished. Yet, even though we may be a little slower than before, this is no reason to stop doing things that we used to enjoy. The first thing we should do is not to compare by the same standards as in the prime of our youth. If we are a keen runner, our times will invariably slow down compared to our youth. However, we should not feel bad about slower times. Rather than comparing from 20 years ago, we should seek to do a seasonal best each year. What is important is that we get a good feeling from our running or other activity..
Young at Heart.
Old age is as much a state of mind as it is a physical deterioration. In our attitude we can feel old at the age of 40; by the same token a 90 year old can feel young at heart. If we constantly think about age as a barrier then we allow the negative effects of old age to influence our mind. However, if we do not place importance on age, we can look on the world with the eyes of a young person. To be able to do this, we should live in the heart and not in the critical mind. The nature of the mind is to welcome negative, restricting thoughts. It is the mind which will over-exaggerate the importance of physical age. If we live in the heart we remain at the source of spontaneity and newness.
Stuck in a Groove.
Old people are more likely to get stuck in a groove, following the same routine. This routine can become constricting and limits our potentials for discovering joy in new activities. Again it mainly depends on our mental attitude. Just because we are old, we should not feel the necessity of doing the same thing every day. There are many inspiring examples of old people who do tremendous things in their old age. Recently a new rock band called The Zimmers was created, the difference was that the average age of the members was over 80. The old aged pensioners who joined the group expressed their great delight in participating in such an experience. There is no reason why in old age we can not start new activities, interestingly both Tagore and Churchill began painting in the evening of their life. In the world of weightlifting, Sri Chinmoy continues to inspire old people through his lifting of heavy weights, which included lifting people overhead. Sri Chinmoy’s philosophy is very much to live in the heart
“Never give up! Never give up! Physical fitness is of paramount importance. There is no age limit when we live in the heart and when we try to be of prayerful and soulful service to God in the heart of humanity.”
– Sri Chinmoy
If you are approaching your more mature years, do not despair and give up; seek to enjoy life to the full and remain young at heart and see in how many ways you can try to do new, inspiring activities. You will definitely inspire others.
- Does Old Age Matter?