Are We Ever Really Prepared to Grow Old?

Are we ever really prepared to grow old? Can we face our immortality as we age and accept the fact we’re growing older? My father-in-law’s going to be ninety years old this year. Thankfully he’s relatively healthy for his age. He lives independently, swims three times a week, has a memory and mind better than mine, still drives and socializes with his lady friend and other friends. When I speak to him though, he often says, “Getting old stinks.” When the phone rings he sadly realizes it could be another call telling him someone he knows has passed on. Time’s slipped by rather quickly in his life, and in my own life, and I don’t believe we’re ever prepared to face our end of life years.

The answer to my question I’m sure is the same for the majority of people asked. Just go ahead and have a conversation with any plastic surgeon. The plastic surgery industry acquires multitudes of repeat clients, all seeking methods and surgical interventions to hold onto their youth. You can attempt to deny your real age if you maintain a youthful beautiful outside shell. Hollywood clients rave about their plastic surgeons and the plastic surgery industry thrives on their client’s thirst for youthfulness, the world’s idea of vitality. Vitamins, diets, exercise, anything we can get our hands on to try and maintain our youthfulness.

Middle age actresses and actors struggle in vain to keep themselves looking young and sexy in order to maintain their careers, because there are always younger actresses and actors ready to take over. Elizabeth Taylor, a vision of glamorous beauty recently passed away at seventy-nine, relatively young today. She realized how important the image of beauty and youthfulness was to her career, but sadly had to face painful years as she grew older. Even Elizabeth Taylor couldn’t halt Father Time.

Male mid-life crisis, a reaction to growing older, may occur when a man views his first grey hairs or small bald spot on top of their heads. Middle age men realize their years are fading fast. They may have unfulfilled dreams or uncompleted goals, live and work in unsatisfying conditions, be losing their athletic physique as spare tires appear around their waist. Their sexuality and virility may feel threatened due to their increasing years. If you happen to look while you’re on the highways you may catch older men racing pass in their fancy sports cars. They probably had to wait until they were older to be able to afford their dream sports car. Riding in their sporty cars in passenger seats you might see a young beautiful woman, often young enough in age to be the driver’s daughter. Mid-life crisis causes divorces as men seek to regain their youth, not ready to face or be considered old.

Women also feel threatened by the lost of their youthfulness or lost of ability to bear children. Children leave the nest and become independent adults, reminding women their time in the sun may be limited or passed. Physical health issues as the body ages often slow down life activities. Romantic relationships or even looking to find a romantic relationship may be threatened by younger more attractive and active women. You’re called a cougar if you dare date someone younger than you as a woman, while a man gets himself a trophy wife and a pat on the shoulder. There are women who are so addicted to plastic surgery attempting to halt the natural aging process. Self esteem issues occur.

Receiving the AARP card in the mail may be the first threat to anyone not prepared for old age, reminding you life is slowly winding down. Obtaining life insurance and nursing home insurance becomes necessary. Having to sell your family home, enter a senior citizen facility, move in with children, or give up your driver’s license are aging facts we may have to face, but probably will never be prepared to do when the time does come.

Science has made so many marvelous medical advances in improving the quality and longevity of our lives today. A senior citizen can still elect to work or offer their volunteer services and talents to society. I recently spoke to an elderly man of eighty-four who happened to have an undiagnosed learning disability when he was younger. He passed through school not knowing how to read but used his adaptive skills and managed to graduate and attend a Harvard business school in London. With such a great achievement he still considers himself old today, unable to offer anything to young people, never having learned how to teach what he taught himself. He also told me he wasn’t prepared to grow old so fast. I told him to keep sharing his story.

There isn’t a handbook on aging called, “Aging For Dummies,” that prepares you for growing old. What we can do is live our live to the fullest and try to achieve our dreams and goals before we reach the bucket list years. We should take care of our physical shell without getting obsessive about plastic surgery intervention, accept and appreciate who we are as a human being. We should take time to listen and learn from our senior citizens before we become an AARP card recipient. Maybe our elders can teach us how to prepare to grow old, but then again I don’t believe we’ll ever really be prepared to grow old. And an open discussion on the subject of death is still taboo to many people.

Let’s take care and respect our elderly citizens and family members because one day we’ll be the ones who may require the same care and respect. Life’s way too short and none of us have immortality, so enjoy each moment you’re given. Life is a gift.

Below is a website link offering information about caring for our elderly population.

Below is a website link offering information about anti-aging and your health.