Advantages of Old Age
Old people have accumulated lifelong experiences in different fields
of life, at different life stages, that they can share with other age groups,
to make the world a better place and other people happy, for money, pride or diversion. However, sometimes they lack the medium to express or share such experiences,
as their appearance, health, and character (sensitivity, obstinacy, etc.) may not match their experience, initially turning away some people,
which adds to the misconception about their real worth, in an
already ageist, youth-obsessed society. Thus, both sides lose.
- Work Experience: Theirs can be used for volunteer, managerial or
consultation work requiring more expertise, and mental rather than
- Historical Knowledge: Old people witnessed modern history.
They have endless details no books or films contain. Even without talking, their very existence, habits, nature,
etc. is a keepsake from the different era they witnessed. Some of them
were children, youth, or middle-aged then, thus each has a
different story to tell and perspective they saw events from.
- Everyday Experience: Usually one becomes better over time at
socializing, money-spending/saving, child-raising, housework, cooking,
shopping, travel, and body maintenance.
- Thanks to the money we save over the years, it supports us later in life when we
RETIRE or work less.
- Thanks to the family, circle of friends and many acquaintances ,
old people act like a SOCIAL HUB or main branch others cluster
- Survival Skills:
- Coping with Ageing: In our old years we learn to live slowly, carefully &
differently, with less energy, immunity, and sense/organ capacity, only
"partially," as not the whole body grows weak, and definitely not the whole
brain. The young can learn from the old how to prepare for their "own" old
years: they feel more secure about their future later, when they see
the old happy and secure
- Coping with Pain: Old people use different strategies, along
with analgesics, to counterbalance/lessen pain: diversion (nature, arts,
hobbies, TV), socializing (conversation, laughter, sympathy), etc.
- Coping with Death: They learn to live while expecting death
more (that "anyone," old or young, can still face). We
put ourselves in their shoes, thinking how it feels when you don't
have much to live, and death may be close that at any moment you may leave life.
We learn from them to live day by day, focusing more on life's QUALITY than quantity.
Like a soldier at the battlefield, we simultaneously expect death and cherish life.
(We enjoy our meal, with someone
else—Death—standing by watching us eat, counting our time down and ready to
bounce on us, once the meal is finished and our time is over.)
- They enjoy simple things in life, compared to
other age groups that "want & worry" more, which makes dealing with the older
generally easier. Their
counterbalances/outweighs the difficulty of dealing with them caused by age-related problems. At such old age, one has to stick to the simple primary purpose
of life, happiness, since one gains nothing else from life before leaving
it. Many old people enjoy the following:
- Sensual pleasures: nature, good food, old songs, cooking, watching TV,
having sex, intimacy, etc.
- Mental pleasures: reminiscing, counting one's achievements/blessings,
light reading, meditation, praying, etc.
- Social pleasures: chatting, inviting/visiting others, children's
company, small animals, etc.
- Old people can easily grow attached to simple objects (old, weak, broken, forgotten,
or seemingly unimportant) many of which they keep and wouldn't throw away. This is because of attachment
and "projection": they don't want to
face the same fate themselves.
- They love children (if tamable). Their most vivid memories are those of
childhood that no one can feel better than children. They see in children the future they won't live. They also feel close to children
because both share physical dependence on other "in-between" age groups.
- They have less duties to fulfill or future plans to worry about.
Rather, they only have responsibilities toward their health, where medicine becomes a fixed
part of daily life sometimes, and less social and financial responsibilities (or so it should be, in a society respecting old people and their need to live peacefully
and happily the remaining years of their life).
They want to enjoy life with less worries and duties, that they have had enough of, as carefree as youth or children are. So they cherish pleasure more, living casually, and talking informally (even using more slang).
- They make up for body weakness, by mind speed and strength,
by being insistent and patient. Old people are usually intellectually organized,
resourceful, and decisive, because they know what they want and
have no time to waste dillydallying while making decisions, like other age
groups may do.
- For this also, they are too frank and blunt sometimes, favoring content over style,
facts over fantasies, and stereotypes over unfamiliar/unconventional ideas. Although we lie
at all ages, we lose motivation for lying and the effort it takes, when we have
nothing to gain or lose from it. Some would even disclose secrets at the end of life, out of
guilt, duty, or just excitement.
Except when they are in pain, they can be very patient. They are tired of the race of life that they want to
take their time and enjoy things at ease. Their natural physical slowness forces them to do
things slowly, which, when they succeed, makes them proud and encourages them to
value slowness and carefulness even more.
- They like experimenting, to the point of
eccentricity sometimes, as they are desperate to try everything before they die.
They don't mind doing long-term experiments with unpredictable results on
seemingly unimportant things, as well as puzzles, luck games, and safe gambling.
- They can be amazingly patient at doing tedious jobs most others wouldn't do, to a degree the young find admirable or exacerbating. This is because
- they are
generally familiar with doing things slowly and carefully (after all, that's how they
must treat their body), that they
can do jobs requiring great time and carefulness;
- they may accept those time-consuming jobs just for diversion, from
boredom or pain;
- or other age groups wouldn't do such jobs.
Disadvantages of Old Age
The problems of old age could be caused by old people themselves or by society.
- Obstinacy: We have to understand how difficult
it is for someone to change their lifelong habits. They become even more
stubborn when they see others unfairly disrespect them, because of their looks
or slowness. However, they can change
some of their habits if we are more patient with them (taking life slowly like
them), and showing them respect and gratitude.
- Sensitivity: They become more sensitive because of others' lack of
appreciation, their own inability/unwillingness to work more (which makes them
hate to be burdensome to others), and their sensitivity about life in general
since they know every
- They have a sensitive ego making them very sensitive to
criticism. They refuse any criticism whatsoever sometimes.
- They cherish their privacy, e.g. by having their own things, because of
their increasing self-awareness
caused by forced/chosen isolation from society.
- They suffer discrimination by some who believe them to have
lived enough thus "less worthy" of life, which is unjust because in our old
years we "deservingly" reap the benefits of what we have been working all our life, and have the government, society & others "return our favors." We value life even more than the young, who, statistically, commit more
crimes against themselves & society. Those of us who unfairly suffered most
of their life are the ones most deserving a compensation.
- Irresponsibility: Like children, old people may shun
responsibilities they don't see immediate pleasure from or receive
appreciation for fulfilling. This includes responsibility toward their health, that they get fed up with medicines and
doctors that consume much of their years that they want to enjoy. They are in a hurry to enjoy (they have right for that),
which leads them to rush to accept any pleasure, becoming slightly (but
temporarily) selfish sometimes.
- Losing Sense of Time: They confuse "what's past & what's present." Our short-term
memory becomes weaker as we grow old, while our long-term one remains almost the
same, leading to that confusion.
- Misunderstanding One's Abilities: They overestimate/underestimate their abilities, physical and mental.
Their body and mind live separately sometimes, each in a different age.
- Out-Datedness: They usually lag behind in technology and update with
modern life changes, because of doubt, lack of enthusiasm to learn new things,
or lack of appropriate learning tools. However, they grow enthusiastic about technology when
they see the advantages it offers "them" in particular. When they succeed, they
feel excited, proud and
grateful for living long enough to "live & learn," wanting to
discover life even more.
- Physical Slowness: You must keep up with their pace, and not expect
them to keep up with yours. If not protected by law or at least tradition they
may suffer bias, mistreatment, or serious/fatal accidents, by inconsiderate individuals/environment.
- Health Problems: To varying degrees, pain and medicine become part
of everyday life. We have to respect that part, without getting bored when they
talk about it (our boredom is nothing compared to their suffering). Common
problems: weaker hearing and vision; weaker immunity; slower healing and
metabolism; aching joints; less control over moving, chewing, swallowing, urinating, etc. Many
of these problems can be solved or coped with by changing lifestyle and
accepting one's new (old) body, that many people live with such problems for
decades, even longer sometimes than when they didn't have them.
How to Accept Death
Attachment to the Past
The Benefits of Slowness
The Benefits of History