Tag Archives: growing old

How Old Do You Want To Be?

While talking with a friend who worked with a 102-year-old client recently, the question of how old do we want to live till came up.

“Her (the 102-year-old) mind is still sharp, but her body is letting her down, and she can feel it. And it’s frustrating her because there’s nothing she can do about it. I wouldn’t want to live till that old and feel my body letting me down.”

I think about the clients with dementia whom I worked with as well.. Their bodies might still be going strong (some of them have more energy than us “younger” ones), but their cognitive senses may not be as able, and to some it may not be a life worth living.

So which is better – Growing old with a sharp mind but a failing body, or growing old with an able body but deteriorating mind?

What power do we have to determine what age we live to, or how we will grow old, anyway? Even our next breath is not within our control. We only think it is.

Knowing that the future is uncertain, may I use this knowledge to remind myself to live fully in each and every moment, because the future is nothing but a collection of present moments.

Reflections @ Kiasu Espresso

Saturday –  I used some of the alone-time to reflect on the daughter I am / have been.

I do not deny that as we get older, we naturally have our own circle of friends, activities, plans and schedules. So do my parents, and that’s a good thing, because it means that they have a purpose in life beyond raising children and taking care of our every need.

However, it may also mean that we get to understand each other less, as we form our own lives, more and more apart from each other.

A few days ago, I got angry at my father who expressed certain views which differed from mine. Today, I got out of the house in a hurry because I found their conversations too noisy.

I questioned myself: By escaping like this, does it solve the problems? Obviously not.

If I think about it carefully, I realise I have 2 main options:

1. Make more effort to make them understand me

2. Make more effort to understand them

And since I am not the sort of person who goes around imposing my thoughts and views on others (for fear of more rejection, ridicule or otherwise), I suppose the best thing for me to do would be to make more effort to understand them, where they are coming from,  why they may behave in certain ways (like speaking about mundane things super loudly, which really gets on my nerves at times), or say certain things (like discouraging travel and putting it across as one of the most dangerous activities in the world).

As Gandhi said, “We need to be the change we wish to see in the world.” Before we judge and condemn, we ought to examine ourselves and see if we have made the effort to understand first.

Growing old is never easy. And as I do not think I was a very easy child growing up (throwing moody tantrums, crying for no reason, refusing to participate in school activities, even refusing to go to school for a period of time!), I suppose it is only fair that I get my share of challenges now and in future.

I just hope that I will have the mental strength and capacity to do all I need to do, and still love as I have been loved.