Aging Together

Aidy Thomas

Aidy Thomas

Aidy Thomas

I’m still doing a research on why people do not want to be called or seen as being old. As a matter of fact, one of the easiest ways to make someone change looks is when you say it makes them look old. Be it hair style, clothes or anything used on the body, people simply run away from things that spell “age”.

My brother actually told me of a woman from a country side who was in her sixties but wanted everyone to believe she’s far younger. She wouldn’t let you come to see her in the morning or if you mistakenly dropped by, getting to see her would take like the next one hour or more when she would have taken time to do the necessary make-up and age-cover therapy.

Ironically, no one also wants to die young: if they don’t want to die young and they don’t want to be seen old what do people really want?  The answer, I think is “aging gracefully”. We all know for real we’re aging everyday but allowing the signs of age to be obvious is what we fight. This explains why the cosmetics industry is richer than an ordinary finance house. A good number of folks have lost their lives in a bit to banish age signals. The demand for plastic surgery, strong meds resulting in cancer is on the increase. It is so easy to invest in things that produce younger looks: we love to hear how good we look and how best we’ve beaten the age marks. When a 65-year old woman goes for tummy tug just to wow people on her birthday you should definitely know that madness is on the rise—what is she looking for?

Telling someone he/she does not look their age—”you look younger than that” is a good way to make them happy through the day and another way of saying “keep doing whatever has kept you this way.” But don’t be carried away by comments and lose your life because long after you are gone, those people would keep on with their lives.

Having said that, the truth remains that as long as you were born, you’ll need to grow old and eventually give way to the generation next. Therefore, the big issue should not be “getting old” but how to get old.

The thought of coping with old age and empty nest where children have grown out to also become parents in their own homes is dreaded by all; the worst part of it is the unpredictability of life itself, you can’t say exactly what will happen next or who between the couple will die first or who will be left to remarry or wallow in loneliness for the rest of their life. Sometimes, the stronger partner gives way first while the weak and sickly clinches to hospital beds; facing several referrals; daily wishing to be the one who departed but sorry, life does not work that way.

Lack of courage and appropriate information on managing old age has made some pull the trigger on themselves, spouses, children and sometimes, kill the whole family in one go either by arson or poison. Some say they love each other so much that they can’t imagine living without. Yes, it’s good to express this level of love but it is even better and mature to educate your mind that you are not clones so you have a personal life mission to accomplish.

A lot would have been achieved during the vibrant days of your relationship but now that beauty and strength is failing; it calls for reinforcement of commitment.  Reflecting your marriage vow “in sickness and in health…” becomes a present experience; not just a smooth line repeated after the marriage registrar or whoever joined you. The more you prepare for old age the better placed you are to handle it.

Things you can do

•Accept: Welcoming the fact that you are no longer the “you” of the past helps you make necessary adjustments to fit the demands of time. This comes in diverse ways— food, drink, exercise, work, social activities, etc. I woke up one day to realise that my body was not digesting milk as before; it would have been on for long but I didn’t seem to notice it until I took stock of what does what to me each time I had them. I certainly had to filter it out of my menu or have small quantity occasionally.

•Reduce: There are loads of things to reduce as age comes along.  Giving a retirement age by the government is a good pointer that less work is needed in old age. Doctors suggest alcohol free life while nutritionist advocate healthy eating—more green and fresh than fried/greasy stuff.

•Help: This is the crux of having someone by your side to love and to cherish. Rendering help to each other is basically why relationships will remain for eternity. Be it emotional, financial, or any kind of support needed by your spouse; if he/she cannot get from you at this crucial time, a vacuum will be created. Yes, I know you marry for love but what love is it that will not help? Being there for each other is the height of expressing how much you care.

•Spend time together: This is as simple and straight forward as it sounds. Loneliness kills faster than poverty. Interacting and having a loved one by your side adds so much meaning to a tired life. The tempo of intimacy changes in old age; less emphasis is placed on sex but walking hand in hand with each other, reflecting on the good old days and opening arms for children and grand children to embrace warm the soul a great deal.

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