GROWING OLD GRACEFULLY
Few people “grow” old. Most people decay and degenerate into old age. In their lives, growth stopped, perhaps in their forties. Thereafter, decadence set in. Instead of blossoming in youth, flowering in mid-age, and fructifying in old age, the bud wilts in early years. Such people only exist, and trudge along in ennui, till their mortal frames collapse. They do not grow old gracefully; they just age ungracefully – sometimes disgracefully!
Old age need not to be the barren autumn of life; it can be spring time, if not physically, at least mentally, emotionally and spiritually. The sinews may have lost their elasticity, strength and endurance with the passage of years, but that is no reason for the mind to lose its resilience, bounce and vigour. The body may totter, but the mind need not lose balance. The flesh may become weak, but the spirit can be willing. And when that happens, one grows younger, or at least stays young, despite the passage of years.
Old is gold only in certain contexts. It is high time we give up the use of expressions carrying the word “old”, especially when referring to young people. “How old are you?” is a wrongly phrased question, if directed to a young person.
The usage of the word “old” needs to be discouraged at all ages, more so for those under fifty. It is a shame to talk to children as being ‘five years old’ or ‘ten years old’.
Psychologically, subconsciously, the word ‘old’ sticks in the young mind, because of such misuse of this word.
The meaning of grace is lightness. Though it should be the sunset of life, there is no reason for the whitening of hair to darken his moods. Pessimism, frustration and despondency need not overcast his life. He need not allow these to cloud his perception.
Only by God’s grace, we can become graceful. Only then can expand our ambit of love to embrace all humanity. That is real growth. Graceful growth.