The Art of Aging

Published: 04.12.2011

Acharya MahashramanThere are three stages of life: childhood, adulthood and old age. Old age is generally considered the period after age 70. Usually, a person sails with ease through the first two phases of his or her life but quite often tends to become apprehensive about old age. It need not be so! Old age is the time to relive and build upon past experiences gained through ups and downs, successes and failures, triumphs and defeats, trials and errors. There is no reason why this segment of life could not be made as fruitful and happy a period as the first two stages. But for old age to be fulfilling, one must cultivate the right perspective, appropriate attitude and pleasing habits.

Train Your Tongue

As we age, our body’s systems change and so should our food habits. After the age of 40, the digestive system’s functionality begins to gradually slow down, whereas the desire for relishing unhealthy foods may tend to increase. Such craving digresses one from a sensible and healthy diet. Having disciplined thinking and curbing these taste temptations is the first important step towards a healthy old age.

Control Your Emotions

The next major move that would help install and maintain dignity in old age is gaining control over intense emotions. Although it is important to pacify emotions at every juncture in life, it becomes particularly so for an elderly. Ageing has a tendency to make most people very sensitive and easily irritable. Their moodiness can cause pain and distress not only to those around them but also to themselves. People must learn to control their emotions and maintain equanimity from the very beginning. After all, old age does not appear in one day. It is actually a series of sequential processes that begin with birth and continue throughout the life cycle. The essential and invaluable practice of staying calm at all times can, therefore, never be over emphasized. No wonder, a person with a peaceful demeanor can endear all.

Choose Your Language

Old people are veterans, experienced and wise. They can provide valuable guidance by properly communicating with others. Speech, as we all know, is the most common form of communication but, as we age, our method and mannerism is likely to change.

Cultivate Sanskars in the Next Generation

Introducing and nurturing good sanskars, culture and values, in the next generation could be a rewarding assignment for the elderly. Since the parents are generally too busy with work and family affairs with little or no time for their children, this important task is often neglected. If grandparents can take over this vital responsibility, it would benefit the entire family in at least three ways:

1. Seniors will make good use of their time by keeping meaningfully occupied.
2. The future generation would have a lasting positive impact of a good upbringing and learning the right values.
3. The parents will be spared of the worry and even the guilt of not contributing enough to their children’s development.

History cites innumerable examples of invaluable influence of the elderly on children. Beginning with ancient civilizations, the practice of instilling values in children was the responsibility of grandparents. But nowadays, grandparents hardly even tell stories to the children! Media has taken over this job, and the rather dismal result has become apparent around the world. It is about time that we restore this time tested tradition with vigor. There is a cautionary note however: as the grandparents get actively involved in the noble task of fostering good sanskars in children, they must understand and reconcile with the generation gap and strike a delicate balance between tradition and changing times. Even if they find that their advice falling on deaf ears, which is likely to happen every now and then, they should not get discouraged. It is common for youngsters to recall and appreciate their grandparents’ words many years later. Grandparents, with their wisdom and experience, are definitely well equipped to plant the seeds of the right sanskars into the minds of their grandchildren.

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  1. Body
  2. Equanimity
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