Sunset boulevard: Don’t let old age hold you back

  • Col DS Cheema (retd)
  • Updated: Nov 29, 2015 09:42 IST
Certain things like compassion, empathy, love, happiness, knowledge, beauty, peace and character never get old and hence cannot die. (i-stockphoto)

After the convocation ceremony was over, everyone moved to the lawns of the college where high-tea had been organised. I was having tea with some other faculty members when one of the students who had just received his degree and a prize, came looking for me.

The young graduate wanted me to meet his 92-year-old grandfather who had come to attend the ceremony. I preferred to walk towards the old man rather than bothering him to come to me but we met halfway through as he had started approaching me by then. I was very happy to see the tall grand old man in achkan with a white flowing beard and neatly tied white turban walking confidently towards me.

After exchanging pleasantries, I asked him what I could do for him. He informed me that he was in the process of writing a book in Punjabi and would come to present a few copies of the book to me when it gets published in about a year’s time. I was impressed and left to think about the old man’s approach to life. At 92, he had no doubt that he would finish the writing, get the book published and visit the college next year to present it to me. This man had not given up to the old age and stopped living. He did fulfil his promise of coming to my office and presenting the book he had authored about the sacrifices of one of the Sikh gurus.

Whenever someone wants to know about our age, we think only of our biological age as defined by the dates on a calendar or the birth certificate but forget to think of the real age which is determined by the way we think and the way we look at things. Idea of age limits us in many ways as it holds us from doing what we are capable of doing.

Also, perception of our worth and, hence, the way we can influence others, changes because of what others think our age is.

Answer the following questions honestly to find out how old you are:

Do you let opportunities go by because you think you are too old to avail of them? It is unfortunate that many employers do not hire persons just because they are beyond a particular age even when they are fit and capable. Who says men and women below sixty only are intelligent, hard-working and honest? Avail an opportunity if it comes your way, let the digits of age not decide for you.

Do you often pronounce yourself as old rather than a wise man with experiences no one else has? Your grey hair is a property that you have earned over the years and it can be used to your advantage.

Do you know the brain and spirit never age? Any neurons which decay due to advancing age are replaced by newer and younger brain cells.

Do you understand that every age has its own charm, grace, beauty, benefits and principles of living?

Are you aware of the fact that certain things like compassion, empathy, love, happiness, knowledge, beauty, peace and character never get old and hence cannot die?

Do you realise that old age is the dawn of intellect and creative powers and you have so much to give to the younger generation that you can live through them when you are done?

Do you know that the process of growing old is just a process of change which is universal and you must die if some others have to live? So, you must welcome the change.

Do you accept old age with gratitude as it is a gift from the Creator?

How you answer the above questions will determine how old you are. One grows old when one loses interest in life, stops dreaming and bans the entry of new ideas and hobbies into the brain. One is old only when one becomes irritating, quarrelsome and cynical as all these are related to your attitude towards the life. In fact, age between 60 and 90 can be the best and most productive years.

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