Understanding Old Age

When young we may look at the elderly and wonder what it might be like. However that is only fleeting otherwise fear steps in.

Coming to terms with getting older  is a strange phenomenon. There is nothing in society to make one think of it as something to cherish something to look forward too. Each of us has to deal with it in our own way. There is plenty written, but for me none of it is relevant because it is a purely personal experience.

When young we  look at old people and cannot really know what it will be like. We watched the bent and slow aged folks shuffling through the shops ahead of us and maybe felt a tad irritated because as a younger person we were always in a hurry as if there wasn’t enough time  in the day. Why don’t old people shop in the week?  younger folks say. Why don’t they have it delivered? Why do they have to be so obviously old? Why don’t they just disappear from society all together?

Oh dear! Does that sound over the top? It isn’t because society is becoming ageist. Maybe it always has been. When young perhaps we tend to have a bit of a laugh at the aged parents. I can remember my mother in law coming to baby sit for us fairly regularly and we had to give her a set time when we would be home. She would be waiting for us at 10-30 with her coat on. Probably a bit aggrieved  if we were late. She seemed to have petty worries about her neighbours and her health and what that entailed. X-rays, medication and prescriptions and hospital appointments,everything seemed overly played out. To us, her family we saw it as a bit of a joke how much she seemed to worry and how important time and routine were to her.  Now at seventy-three, I am the same, anxious if I cannot meet my deadlines or if I feel taken for granted. My health and all its facets seem to rule my life, probably because I cannot control what is happening to me on a daily basis. My comforts and relationships with friends has become more important. Small things seem much bigger and my level of anxiety has become manifold. I realise that for all of my working life I wore and managed a band  of anxiety around my middle. Coping with it. Retrospectively I can see that this was something from childhood but that is another story. In order to make a success of my life this anxiety had to be controlled and managed and it was. However once released from the life of work after retirement and after ten years in I am aware of this feeling tugging at me daily. When something anxiety provoking occurs in the day there it is. So sticking to plans, keeping a fairly reasonable routine and opting not to place my self in too vulnerable a situation holds it back. I will force myself to do things I don’t want to do but when I do I am more vulnerable. I am not on my own with this and would be interested to hear from others in this aging process. I am sure there is much more to say.

Another aspect of aging at the moment is the controversy regarding state pension.  People are jealous or angry at the fact that we receive a regular income. Gone any idea that we have paid our dues in taxes and national insurance or paid into a private pension scheme. It’s costing the country millions say the media.  There are far too many old people sponging on the state say some of the young. They have stolen from us the young, and they don’t deserve what they are getting. Heating allowances should stop, they should lose their homes to pay for care in the community. This is Agisim isn’t it?

We  each have to find our own way through this. There are those who fight old age, constantly trying to maintain a young style. Plastic surgery if one can afford it.  If you keep your face reasonably free of wrinkles is that OK when the hands and neck show the signs. Next step body transplant because the skin and bones continues its losing battle against gravity.

For me it’s not about staving off old age it’s not about looking young, but more about acting ones age.  There is always the danger of closing in on oneself, too bad if you don’t know  you are, and are lacking in self awareness because that is the key. However sometimes self awareness can be just that bit too painful. Maybe finding interests  and changing them by learning something new, perhaps rotating them to keep them alive is the answer. I like painting watercolours, knitting, reading and writing down what bugs me or excites me at any given time and this is generally on the face book or a blog like this. I have recently become excited by politics and am an avid follower of Jeremy Corbyn and chatting on various groups. I would like to be more active but find my health and mobility are an issue so having joined the labour party movement I can have my say on various factions but am not as active as I want to be. I make plans about going to this or that labour meeting but find on the day I don’t have the physical where with all to do it which feels like failure. Also after a particularly stressful day and being pretty busy I pay a price in tiredness the next.

I don’t think this is just about me even though we are all unique there are many trials and jagged paths in this aging process but what is the alternative. Finally I would say, don’t expect those younger than yourself  to understand, they cannot until they reach that path themselves.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Author: juneyhh

I am a retired psychotherapist of 20 years working in the north of England up to my retirement in 2010 mainly because I remarried and thought at that time it was the right thing to do. Retrospectively giving up on work felt like giving up on life as I knew it. Realising since that one doesn't have to give up on something in order to build something new. Now nine years on, divorced and having moved to Cornwall Iwonder what it was all about. It's harder to start a fresh at 70, not impossible but harder.

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