Never be afraid of your growing age.
By I. M. Soni
Charles Lamb in one of his essays, writes that up to the age of 20, he thought he was deathless. He gives vent to all people who think that death comes only to others. That they will live very long, if not for ever, but years change this thinking.
The basic problem of the man growing old is his awareness that he is mortal, that time is beginning to run out.
How he reacts to this knowledge is all-important to his future. If he accepts the inevitability of old age (and death) he realises that he has many fruitful years ahead.
If he tries to fight against the inevitable, fear of advancing age cripples him emotionally and harms him physically.
He may damage himself with one or more of the major ailments of the middle years; fearing impotence, he may become impotent worried by the ageing process, he may become a victim of depression, a common emotional disturbance at this age.
He may try to ease his tensions, and allow his life to become warped by anxiety.
In a frenzied attempt to make his mark or to make a bigger mark, he may tax his strength and become physically ill. Heart disease, high blood pressure, and ulcers are common in the middle years when a man fails or refuses to adjust.
The man who achieves emotional maturity can take almost any crisis in his stride. Maturity?
Act your age. The man who is emotionally mature is the man who has learned to adjust to his personal environment. He soberly estimates the assets and liabilities of his character. He tries to achieve that which he thinks he is capable of achieving, but he is wise enough to forget the unattainable daydreams of his youth. He learns to accept reality, to live within his means – emotional as well as financial. He utilises the accumulated experiences of decades, and he lives, loves, and works in accordance with what he has learned from them.
No human being is perfect. Everyone has quirks, has strong likes and dislikes; no one is completely free of all prejudice. Similarly, no one is ever totally free of temptations and the desire to indulge them. Even the hardest working man knows moments when he feels lazy or tired.
Therefore, a word of caution: do your best, but don’t perform miracles. The individual’s adjustment to society and man’s adjustment to ageing never stop.
Don’t despair because you sometimes feel that the race is too swift. The knowledge that the race is swift enables you to run faster and to show greater stamina. The keys that unlock the doors to the vast storehouse of emotional maturity.
The problem of the middle years are more persistent in our present day society than ever before. The man is caught up in a world of pressures, of too much emphasis on too many of the wrong things, of keeping up with the Joneses, and trying to maintain his wife’s social pace.
He is the victim of a youth cult and anyone who tries to take its claims seriously finds his health, and pleasures dampened.
The man of middle years needs help and understanding. Unfortunately, his wife, who is usually a few years younger, needs understanding at the same time. She is probably going through the menopause, a physical as well as emotional change in life , at the very time that her husband is trying to solve his newly discovered problem.
Therefore, in many families, both the husband and the wife are suffering from emotional disturbances simultaneously, and they becomes tense.
Women make efforts to remain youthful in appearance. It is often difficult to distinguish between a mother of 43 and her daughter of 22. But it is rare to mistake a man of 45 for his son of 21!
Make the most of it
It is natural for a woman to want to retain her youthful appearance as she looks her best if she is able to maintain at last the illusion of youth. But the man fails to understand that gray hair or eye glasses give him a more distinguished appearance.
Staying younger than springtime has become a passion for men. The man of 50 who tries to pretend he is 20 is fighting a battle as ludicrous as it is futile. He ends up looking like an artificial flower in a pot.
These are the most productive years in a man’s life. He is capable of making his contribution to society. In many instances, he is in a position to fulfill the goals that mean much to him. In the process, not only can he give his family material comforts but he can get his own inner satisfaction.
Do not retreat to a chair. If you find genuine pleasure and gain real satisfaction looking and acting younger then yours years, you should indulge to your whims. Hair dye can help some.
Driven by anxieties beyond the limits of his natural capacities which are healthy and strong, he fails, be it as a husband, or a businessman. He is an actor playing a role that makes him uncomfortable. He expends so much effort maintaining a pretense.
Life begins at 40. Some believe it, some don’t. In general, the 40th year seems to be the most difficult for many men to accept. It represents the passing of youth, and they mourn.
The 50th birthday is easier to accept with good grace. A man whose mental attitude is healthy has adjusted to the difference in what he is now; he not only realises he is not young anymore, but he has stopped wanting to be so.
Ageing begins at birth. The skin cells and red blood corpuscles age and die. It is a sense of psychological ageing that is the fundamental cause of the male crises.
Anyone of 40 or over realises that, sooner or later, the road does come to an end. Even those who exercise regularly and control their diet are inclined to develop paunches; hair turns gray, vision and hearing become impaired. lllnesses everyone knows, childhood friends have died.
Age is relative. Statesmen and legislators can be as powerful and vigorous in their seventies and vigorous in their eighties as they were when younger. In many cases they reach their prime in what is generally believed to be old age. Sir Winston Churchill, Charles de Gaulle, Konrad Adenauer demonstrated their greatness when old. Nehru died at the age of 74. A.B.Vajpai become prime minister of India at this age! Robert Frost continued to write great poetry in his eighties.
Ageing is related to the work one does. The working-class man thinks of himself as a full-gown adult at an earlier age than does the man who works in an office.
What are a man’s interests? How does he spend his leisure? We live in a world of changing standards. It is no longer true, as it was only three-quarters of a century age, That a man is judged only by what he achieves in his work. The well-adjusted man listens to wise people. When at peace with himself, he quietly reads a book, or plays cards with wife.
It is harmful to be afraid or you will become senile or aged before your time. I am 82 and I bend twice to pick up things from the floor!