Embracing Aging With Grace

Old man watching sunset | La Reunion island | Hendrix Baby | Flickr

Aging is an unavoidable process of life, and it is a reminder that our lives as humans, no less than any other living being, are finite. However, most people seem discouraged from accepting this fact, given the fact that they are highly preoccupied towards notions of staying as youthful as possible.

This kind of culture which values youth and beauty over age and experience can unknowingly lead one to believe that getting older means that soon you will be forgotten about.

I’m only 22 years old myself and I personally believe that aging is an evolving process that requires continual recalibrating and reminders of things and experiences that have passed me. I still have a number of years ahead of me granted, but I’ve already begun questioning my mortality now that I’ve reached adulthood. I didn’t necessarily have much plans other than securing myself a steady job, maybe settling down with a nice girl in a nice house and living my life in peace, but then it struck me that eventually that I will wrinkle like a prune. My physical attributes will reduce, I might become a little slower in processing things and I won’t have the same privileges and experiences that I had in my younger years.

I just don’t know when but I know for a fact that it will happen provided I live long enough to see it happening. The prospect of it frightens, yet strangely comforts me. What I am truly certain about however is that life is a journey that is fraught with many uncertain roads that shape us as people, and aging itself is one of the most important roads we all must walk on.

I believe that aging brings new challenges we can tackle with, to replace the restlessness and insecurity of our younger days. Whether or not we face these particular challenges, it is important that we come to understand that physical and mental challenges do not necessarily define any of us. Granted, most of us will require some extra support in order to thrive and stay safe and cared for in our older years but why not we utilize that same time to begin pursuing new hobbies or passions, or connecting with people and sharing our experiences with them, and enjoying the world around us.

Ageing, I feel, is a time when we begin to value ourselves, everyone and everything around us a lot more. For what it is, our finitude warrants appreciation for our lives that we are gifted with, for all its highs and lows. It is something that we should already realize regardless of our age. Perhaps if we work towards letting go of fears regarding aging and replace it with appreciating our life experiences and the wisdom that it brings; we can recognize the inherent value that the older segment of our population has. Maybe getting old is not as daunting as it seems, when we eventually end up at that same road. 

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