Growing Old

Each birthday is a reminder that you have been given yet another beginning; a mark that you are gaining more than you did in the wisdom department. Growing is not just about adding years and getting bigger than you were, or advancing in education. They all contribute but not in the full sense of it. As a child, birthdays are special days you just can’t wait to come, so you can dance, have some ice cream, cakes and receive presents from loved ones. However, as you grow, you automatically stop wanting Barbie dolls and truck toys. There are not just physiological changes but psycho changes too. There are times birthdays become serious points of reflection and evaluation of your life. If at the age of 40, you throw tantrums over every little thing, then something is obviously amiss. That means someone is not and has clearly not been living the real age.

20. Initial Denial

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First off, you begin to have funny signs- physical, biological and psychological – but you don’t want to believe it’s just about that time to put on the grey cap. You are religiously spending a fortune on anti-aging creams but the wrinkles and stretch marks just won’t budge. Don’t fight it, embrace it. I guess they lied when they said 30 is the new 20. The best you can do is to retreat, evaluate and accept the current phase of your life. It’s not a death sentence, it’s golden and beautiful. Maybe taking the statistics of mortality rate in your community will give you a reason to be thankful.

19. More Intuitive

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You sincerely do not feel the external energy anymore and find yourself giving more of the follow your heart advise. You find that you are calmer and keener on issues, from politics to religion to pretty much everything about life. You sleep over issues before giving a concrete answer; apparently not as spontaneous as you used to be. The new intuitive trait gives you an opportunity to effectively practice the virtue of patience. Following your instincts might have never been your strong points, but now that’s the only way to be. You see beyond the eyes and hear beyond the ears.

18. “Good Old Days”

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It is true that some adults sometimes act like they missed out on their childhood but that is not always so. When you are getting older you tend to appreciate the good old days but not to the point of dressing like a 30 going on 13. That would give an awful taste. I haven’t yet seen any Grandma who says the “good old days” were not better than now. In any case, I dare to say that what makes your good old days worth it are the memories of a life well spent, a fulfilled life; not necessarily the economic status of the society. If that were so, then a lot of people would clearly not have anything good about their days when it gets to their turn to use the perfect and proper ‘good old days’ cliché.

17. Best Bed Time Story-Teller

A bedtime story --- Image by © Royalty-Free/Corbis

If it gets to that time when you are the best bedtime story-teller, then someone is warming up for more grey hairs. In many parts of the world, grandparents carry out the role more often. They have a thousand and one folklore and cool animal stories to tell you.  Somehow you just know the trick in telling a pictorial and believable story, enough to get the children either excited or quiet and yawning. You also know some amazing stories about traditions, family secrets and values; you are now the ‘go-to’ historian in the home.


16. Subtle Becomes The New Confident

Older woman having cup of coffee. Image shot 2011. Exact date unknown.

Welcome to the other side of the coin, when bright colours which used to make you bold and delightful becomes noisy and actually blinding. When you are getting older, too much all of a sudden become too little, contrary to the youthful concept of being assertive. The society actually teaches you to show off what you got – your skills, talent, intelligence, physical beauty. Showcasing these attributes are expected to get you some sort of better spot in life. You use what you have to get what you want or need and I mean that in the most positive way possible. Every given chance is an opportunity to show off what you are made of. However, the clock ticks and things no longer feel the same. You find more value on the inside than the outside. The funky hairstyle/cut you used to love suddenly becomes belittling and probably distracting in your perspective. You know your worth and that’s it, whether anyone notices or not no longer disturbs you.Your are super cool with yourself.

 15. You Act Like ‘You Know’

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One beautiful thing about getting older is that you tend to effortlessly strike a balance between your emotion and reason – the head and heart tend to harmonize into one wholesome agreement. As much as your sentiments come into play, you know when to draw the line between what is needed and what actually isn’t. At a younger age, your feelings tend to call the shots, “I don’t feel like doing this”, “I want burger” but when you are older you go ” I know I have to do this”, “I like burger but I don’t want it because it gives me gas”. Your nephew thinks you are the coolest and smartest man alive because you have all the tips to be cool and all the wisdom to be successful. All thanks to your bright and dull experiences; all the “had I known” moments.

14. You Become Self-Compassionate

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This is where you say no to pressure; let go of past mistakes and finally see the hidden lessons and treasure they have become. Dancing to the tune of the latest trends becomes absolutely childish and unnecessary. Some how you have begun to tap into the peace within you – accepting yourself for who you are. You cannot be nagged or lured into something that obviously does not do you any good. You just don’t care what anybody thinks about what you say or how you decide to look. You clean up the closet and accept life and yourself just the way you are. Old people have the trick to anti-depression.

13. Look Who’s Blunt

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At an older age, most expressions are spared and pondered in the heart; or communicated non-verbally. But the deal is that if it needs to be said, then it will be said if not, don’t bring it up. Grey hair in some traditions signifies not just wisdom but truthfulness. It is expected that the older you get, the fewer lies you tell or rather the fewer pretences you accommodate. You practically become anti-hypocritical – a spade is a spade and not a garden tool per say. There is no time or need to sugar coat any matter or mistake a flimsy excuse for a fact. It is what it is, and if you must tell it, then tell it like it is, period.

12. Simple Things Begin To Make Sense Again

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Simplicity becomes the latest sophistication in town. From the blues, you find reasons to drop all complications and adopt a simpler pattern of living. Flowers become beautiful again and cartoon characters become philosophical and mental teasers. There’s always a God-knows-why reason why every little occasion demands a ceremony. A routine family and friends get together is definitely not a bad idea. You know the Dolly Patton’s Coat of many colour songs – every stitch is sewn with love. And no matter how many designer jackets you have, you just feel super amazing in the hand-knitted masterpiece, probably from a loved one.

11. Cheapskates Or Just Being Frugal?

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Either way, they want a justification for spending as much as you want them to. Old people are the only set of people who can go scot-free without paying a complete bus fare or buy with outrageous discounts. Why? Because they know the value of every penny in the ‘good old days’. Secondly, there’s this attitude that says, “Don’t you get I don’t work anymore?” ” I could be your grandmother’s age you know?” With a nice word (or otherwise) to accompany it, they just overwhelm you. I mean, courtesy demands that you be nice to the elderly, there are blessings attached. And by the way, safe box banking is the best.

10. Beauty Of Classic Music

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Everything from music to the fashion of their time is a classic. Now the contemporary music has become a bunch of junk “that all sound alike”. It is said that you only know the lyrical value of a song when you are hurt and have an internal vacuum to be filled up. Old age gives you this feeling without a broken heart, you tend to appreciate the message of the song more than the instrumentals of the song. So when Grandma wants some old school flavour – Jimmy Reeves, Dolly Patton, Fela, Mariam Makeba, ABBA – they are not nuts, they are just having a classical nostalgia.

9. Novel Hobbies

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Life gives you a twist on the list of likes and dislikes as you get older. The peer factor comes into play the same way it did in the past. Your buddies are fast moving to the other side and you wonder how that realm would be and when and how yours could come. All these make you serene – gives you a gradual withdrawal from the things you used to love and the things you never thought you could love. You unconsciously trade the party spirit for some quiet time – fishing, sitting outdoors in the garden, taking a walk, playing old count and capture games with anyone who cares to join you. Actually, you just realized the upsy-daisy days are just too loud, I mean, who needs all that energy and noise.

8. Going Greener

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These days you frequent your visits to the hospital and also have this inclination to undiluted nature. Your taste buds are acting funny – you seem to be taking more vitamin pills than cakes; more veggies than pork; and more water than beer. Going greener in your nutrition as you get older helps your digestion. Of course, it might not always be fun, and yes, you are no herbivore or vegan but you can do it. Doctors orders!

7. Weight Gain

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It’s only biological that you experience weight gain as you age but some old people have unexpectedly knocked the socks out of everyone. Working out is not a trait that comes easily to the elderly but as a matter of fact, some now appear more fit than the younger generation. The truth is that as you get older you become less active because you don’t feel as strong as you used to be. Your metabolism goes through changes and you are bound to put on some weight. The good news in all this is that it is never too late to start exercising. Old people of today seem to get that, and boy, they are kicking buts in that department.

6. Specifics And Details

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“No long talks”, as long as you are not a grey hair colleague and I’m not the one talking. When you are talking to an older person, you can’t help but be conscious of how you arrange your thoughts before them. As the temperaments provide, you need to know if the older person fancies every petty gist. Generally speaking, getting to the point will do a lot of good.

5. White Flag Bearer

Young and Elderly hands

Now you are finally getting it, it’s all about family, it’s all about peace. Negative energy doesn’t seem to be doing any good at this time. You finally understand that whatever it is you go through, the fights, the ups and the downs, love is all that matters.

4. Just This One Time

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Everybody seems to be telling you what to do and what not to do. They think you are not so smart anymore and probably too old you can’t fit in. So today, you want to show them that you are not so rusty after all. As much as proving points is no longer your thing, you just want to set the records straight. Just this one time.

3. Where Are My Glasses?

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Eyesight is a vital issue for the old. It is usually recommended that once you are over the hill, you need to get your eye checked and possibly get yourself a pair of glasses. Since your after-retirement hobby is reading, you sure will need it.

2. “I Don’t Remember”

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Forgetfulness is a trait that unconsciously builds up in the personality of an older person. It might happen because you haven’t succeeded in catching their attention or most probably because they have dementia. Dementia is a biological condition of memory loss in people. If they demand a dessert the second time, they just don’t want to piss you off, they simply do not remember.

1. You Become A Child Again

African grandmother and granddaughter hugging

Back to bases – tooth loss, sentiments over ‘insignificant’ things, going simple, even comic movies make you cry. These are the core signs that you are seriously not a spring chicken. The twist in getting old is that after the acceptance, you seem on top of your game at being old and mature, but as time goes by, you share almost everything in common with a ten-year-old. Maybe that’s why your best buddies outside your peer are children. You speak a common language and seem to understand them more.

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