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The privilege of ageing

Ageing is a natural process and not a matter of choice, but how we handle it, is!   | Photo Credit: Getty Images

“Sir, you don’t look a day older than 50!” This was the optician, while going through the date of birth entry in the form I was required to fill. My wife, who was with me, immediately whispered into my ears that I should take this remark merely as a marketing strategy.

Not having any requirement of strategies, marketing or otherwise, she was in no frame of mind to have me harbour any grandiose delusions of my age! Be that as it may, I was left wondering why should people get concerned if they get old or look as old as they are. The desire of getting to be told that they look younger than they are is, perhaps, an understandable variant of vanity.

One often comes across observations such as “He/she is so graceful even at his/her age” or “He/she has aged gracefully.” I presume the observation, at least in part, is based on seeing people who have accepted old age with dignity and a measure of calmness. On the other hand, there are people who appear tormented and beleaguered by age and show it too and when that happens, we say, “He/she looks so much older than he/she is.”

Ageing is a natural process and not a matter of choice, but how we handle it, is! There is no known elixir bestowing on humans youth and vitality which will defy and reverse the process of ageing. And thank god for that! Imagine a world bursting at the seams with young “old” people who have defied ageing!

A wise man had once said, “A beautiful face in youth is the result of fortune; a beautiful face in old age is earned by kindness and wisdom.” There are, of course, challenges in how parents and senior citizens are treated by their children. Some cases of “seniors” being ignored or being stifled financially or emotionally or both are dark and sinister facts of today’s times, and though laws such as the Maintenance of Parents and Senior Citizens (Amendment) Bill, 2019 (awaiting passage in Parliament) are on the anvil, what is required is understanding and empathy, not limited to finances alone, from the kin of the seniors.

Since ageing is inevitable in life’s journey, it is important also to explore and find ways and means to enjoy the journey. These days, concepts such as assisted living with regular health check-ups and nursing care have found currency. In such senior citizens’ homes, “seniors” are eased into secured community living sans the hassles of mundane household chores such as dusting, cleaning and even cooking.

For ageing, one has to live, and when one lives with satisfaction and happiness, there need be no regret, for as is said, “Do not regret growing older, it is a privilege denied to many.”

ashokwarrier27@gmail.com


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Printable version | Jan 20, 2022 6:37:39 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/open-page/the-privilege-of-ageing/article37719239.ece

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