I once knew a woman. We all called her Aunt Gladys. She was the sweetest woman you would ever meet. She was 98 when last we met and later passed on at 108, ten years later. At Aunt Gladys funeral, we all were heartbroken. You see she had mentored quite a few of us, directly and unintentionally as it was evident by the number of young people present at the funeral.
Whenever we asked her how she came about so much wisdom, she would always say; "Girl, I have been around the block for a long time". She would say it so matter-of-factly as though to imply that wisdom automatically comes with age and in many regards, this is true.
We live in an age where there are not many Aunty Gladys's anymore, who are elderly and proud to be so. The Grammy Award winning artiste, Jay Z, sang a song that baffled me: "forever young, I wanna be forever young...Do you really wanna live forever?" First off, it's just silly to think anyone can live forever and secondly, why on earth will someone want to be forever young?
There are a few reasons for this age-ophobia, I want to look at them and show you why they are all not a big deal after all.
1. Old People Always Get Sick and Have Chronic Pain
While no one may be able to totally exclude themselves from age-related illnesses and pain, everyone can live a quality of life that reduces it drastically. In the end, everyone has some pain and some illness, no matter their age.
There are some diseases that do become more common as we age. However, getting older does not automatically mean poor health or that you will be confined to a walker or wheelchair.
Research done by the National Resource Center on Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Aging, showed that 1 in 4 older Americans has poor nutrition. Malnutrition can put you at risk of becoming overweight or underweight and it can also weaken your muscles and bones and leave you vulnerable to disease.
The need for proper nutrition and exercise consistently as we approach our middle ages, becomes necessary and is indeed a general health tip that ensures a healthier life in the latter stages.
There are also food supplements which help supplement body nutrients and keep the body balanced. There are also natural herbs like medical marijuana which has been proven to help manage pain and stress related effects such as high blood pressure, digestive disorders, insomnia and cognitive awareness. This makes the prospect of aging less scary if scary at all.
2. Memory Loss is an Inevitable Part of Aging
We do experience some fleeting memory problems as we age and these reflect normal changes in the structure and function of our brain. We may as a result begin experiencing sluggishness in certain cognitive processes. This change can be frustrating, but it is still an acute overstatement to say that significant memory loss in older people is a normal part of aging.
Even I suffer fleeting memory loss when I am tensed up and I am not even 30! Brain training and new learning can occur at any age. There are many things you can do to keep your memory sharp like aerobic exercises, which increase blood flow to the brain; continued learning, learning new things; and taking vitamins and balanced diet.
My point is that whether or not your brain functions deteriorate significantly is your choice and what you have to do is what you out to have been doing a long time before you hit 50.
3. As You Age You Get Wrinkly and Ugly
First off, what defines beauty? We all thought Aunt Gladys was the most beautiful woman of over 80 we had ever seen. Her secret? She smiled a lot! Rather than seat there moody and worried about how fast your age is running, put up a smile and find what worthwhile activities you can involve yourself in.
Beauty is not the state of a person's face or body, but how attractive the person's life is. This is the most important but it is not to say that the state of the body is unimportant, staying beautiful is still very much important. Aging of the face and loss of a sharp shape can be controlled reasonably. I personally do not advocate for surgical procedures, because I believe grey hair and a wizened is beautiful and so do many others.
There are a few natural remedies you can use in addition to simply celebrating our age and appearance for what they are and keeping a cheerful demeanor. You need to protect your face from the sun. Aunt Gladys always had a large hat on, whenever we went for a picnic. She always joked that it fit her 80's dress sense, but this explained why her face remained so youthful.
Creams and Lotions also go a long way in helping to protect and nourish skin. The improvement in research has enabled really stunning results. For instance, the life cell cream has shown great promise and results. Moisturizers contain glycerin which helps bind moisture to the skin. Exfoliant creams also help skin look younger by getting rid of dead skin cells. Who says that ageing gracefully is a myth? It is very much a fact, especially with the massive resources available to us.
4. Old People, Like Old Dogs, Can't Learn New tricks
This particular myth is the most annoying. Aunt Gladys seemed to become more sporty when she hit 70, she would run every morning and even skip rope. I taught her to play chess at age 76 and she even beat me once... when I wasn't paying too much attention. My point is that the brain can be charged to do what you want it to do.
It may take a little more strain, but aging is no excuse to lying around unproductive. Wang Deshun, China's hottest grandpa has proven once and for all that you can become what you want and learn what you need to at any age.
5. Old People Are Lonely and Grumpy
I don't need to spend so much time disproving this myth, Aunt Gladys already did that. She was a woman of faith and often attributed her joy to her faith in Jesus. I often was mystified by her and how she did it. I had to learn how to be cheerful no matter from her.
The facts of life is that if you spend the better part of your life investing in people, then you wouldn't be lonely in the latter ages and you would have no reason to be grumpy.
Life teaches me a lot of things daily, but Aunt Gladys showed us all how glamorous old age can be if handled right.