Thursday, September 13, 2018

THINKING ALOUD: Consider ageing gracefully a blessing, not a curse



Professor Zulfiqarali Premji

Professor Zulfiqarali Premji 

In today’s culture, there is some sort of negative reaction to getting older. We want to stay young in health and in spirit. Growing older is like a curse that can’t be avoided, although we try everything in our power to delay ageing.

Even Holy Scriptures make a reference to this… ‘Even to your old age and gray hairs I am He. I am He who will sustain you. I have made you, and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you…’ (Isaiah 46:4).

Think about it: the best days of your life might not have happened yet. Don’t miss out on them by trying to ‘forever stay young.’

Aging is the process of becoming older. In the broader sense, ageing can refer to single cells within an organism which have ceased dividing: cellular senescence.

In humans, ageing is the accumulation of changes over time, encompassing physical, psychological and social change. Reaction time, for example, may slow with age, while knowledge of world events and wisdom may expand.

Ageing is among the risk factors for most human diseases. Indeed, about two-thirds of the roughly 150,000 people who die daily worldwide die from age-related causes.

The discovery, in 1934, that calorie restriction can extend lifespan in rats by 50 per cent motivated research into delaying – or even preventing – ageing!

After 60 years of age, we are playing ‘last overs.’ So, we must re-engineer ourselves to score and win the game of life. The first thing you could do in the morning is be thankful for a new day. Get up early, sit calmly, observe the rising sun and feel its warmth.

Remember: there are millions who won’t see sunrise tomorrow.

To be with Nature is to be with Divinity. Sit at the seashore, on a riverbank or in a park looking at trees. Silently spend some time with Nature around you.

Silence will help you listen to your inner voice – and enhances your well-being and life-span. Forget the past; enjoy the present, preferably relaxing amid Nature. Laze around. Sound sleep is a sign of good health.

Use your body wisely. Service and maintain it regularly – as we meticulously do for expensive cars.

Avoid calling upon your spouse or domestic help for your day-to-day chores. Doing your own work ignites a feel-good factor; self-sufficiency gives you lots of confidence.

Self-reliance is good for your health.

You worked hard all your working life to accumulate the wealth that you thought would make you enjoy your old age. Not being able to use it now is tantamount to cheating yourself.

People experience some common regrets late in life. Fulfill your dreams and do what you always wanted to do.

But, don’t become over-adventurous, or hurt yourself.

The universal truth about life is its end. Sooner or later, everything will be no more. We’re bound to meet the same fate one day.

Go on… Imagine how many people will be sad to miss you. If there are very few, you didn’t touch enough lives in your lifetime.

Start now, doing at least one good act each day. ‘Giving’ brings you happiness. Spare time for a social cause.

Being busy in a good cause adds happy years to your life.

Discipline is good; stress is not. Draw a line between the two. Remember: you are not a success-making machine. Most of the things that we can’t live without are free – like water, air, sunlight...

Always be simple...

There are three important things in life: time, health and money. If you have all three, you are among the lucky few.

Focus on the present; enjoy life, for who knows: this may be your ‘last over.’ Feel blessed; stay happy; look around you to see how many people are no longer of your age.

Seniority brings to life the wisdom that comes from having failed as often as you succeeded; relinquished as much as you accumulated. And this stage in life comes with its own very clear blessings.

The older ones among us know that what lasts in life – what counts in life, what remains in life after all the work has been completed – are the relationships that sustained us, not the trophies we may have collected on the way.

The older among us may have ‘compromised’ their eyesight. But them may nonetheless be blessed with plentiful insight.

Have a graceful and dignified retirement; you will not be the first or the last, as everyone of us is in the same queue.

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