Ageing. The process starts from the moment we are born. You can’t stop the clock. The only way to stop the process is to die!
Youth is worry-free
During the first 25 – 30 years, ageing is a rapid and overt process of change. Puberty, adolescence and youth are stages of immense shifts both physically and mentally. It is the age of transition from childhood to adulthood. Except for the vulnerable age of adolescence when there may be some identity issues, the individual normally feels confident and upbeat about life during this period. Death and disease are far from his mind. Hope, aspirations, drive to compete and achieve are at an all-time high.
Around 30, the person begins to experience the responsibilities that go with a job, spouse, and maybe even children. He now has to comply with societal rules and obligations. He now has to think about the future in a more practical way than he did when he was younger. He begins to plan for coming days and years.
Fear creeps in
As he or she gets older, the body begins to show signs of ageing – health issues begin to crop up. After 40, he begins to think more about preserving and prolonging his physical condition. Mentally, he may be in optimum condition to think and analyse. He now has the benefit of experience. At this stage, a new element enters his life – Fear.
Fear of old age and death. Fear that there is little time to achieve goals. Fears that one would lose loved ones – especially parents. Fears that the children may not ‘settle’ down. Fears regarding grandchildren. Unknown fears.
Fear vs. Faith
The antidote to fear is faith. That is why age-old religious texts stressed on prayer and service during this stage in life.
Modern world has, however, extended life expectancy exponentially. Since 1900 the global average life expectancy has more than doubled. Today, the global life expectancy is 71.4 years. Medical science now helps people live healthy and productive up to 70s and beyond.
This poses its own challenges. Retirement is not an option any more for many. Elderly persons now have to channelize their energy for fulfillment and to avoid a sense of uselessness. The accumulated experience and consequent wisdom can now be leveraged for families, businesses and service organisations.
Acceptance is the key
While life expectancy has increased dramatically, there are some who do not wish to go beyond youth. They are not comfortable with their senior status. Anti-ageing formulations and fashions are big business. This industry feeds on the fears of people.
The secret to continual and consistent well-being is Acceptance. Accept your age and live accordingly. While identifying and leveraging your personal assets, accept your shortcomings. Act your age - it’s okay to look your age, too. Stay positive, healthy and feel happy and fulfilled!