It's so hard to get old without a cause; I don't want to perish like a fading horse. Youth is like diamonds in the sun, and diamonds are forever. Forever young, I want to be forever young.
Although modern society is insanely quick to point out the negative aspects of aging (even having us believe aging is taboo), I personally feel that we 40- to 50-somethings shouldn't allow ourselves to get drawn into this sad, cruel hype (we're far too wise for such things); because once we start losing sleep over aging, it's gonna consume us at some point and drive us into the cuckoo's nest. There's nothing we can do about natural aging anyway because that pendulum on the wall isn't gonna stop swinging even if we worry full-time about getting old.
And how many times have we heard the phrase “young at heart”? Well, "what's wrong with being old at heart?" I would argue that an old heart is superior because it is experienced. It has felt more, loved more, been broken more and despite those terrible pangs of hurt and betrayal, has always meandered its way to recovery − gathering wisdom in doses large and small along the way. An old heart is a treasure trove, and honestly, I wouldn't have mine any other way.
I'm not saying this is bad advice (after all, keeping the mind active is a good thing), but what if "old age" in itself has its own time in the cycle of life − a phase as important and interesting and colourful and fruitful and different from previous years, as adolescence is from infancy and adulthood from adolescence? Wouldn't you want to live it? I know I would.
As I age, there's no denying the supply of time available to me grows scarcer with each sunset. I'm not hiding from this fact − nobody can − because life is an un-winnable fight anyway. I'm well into the final quarter of mine; with another 15 − or if I'm lucky, 20 − years to go. Hence I'm eager to quickly find a good way to live out those final chapters of my life. I may be some way yet from achieving that but at least I'm trying. I've begun telling myself that I really don't want to waste whatever time I have left trying to be something I'm not. Or pretending I can or like to do things that physically (or even mentally) aren't as easy or as interesting anymore.
I won't argue with the fact that growing old is rife with countless emotional landmines − like fear of losing one's independence, contracting an illness or struggling with financial difficulties − which in truth, do render "aging gracefully" easier said than done. But in this regard, attitude is everything. It really comes down to how you see aging. I do not fear it because personally, I believe we − the aging − are a select group. We are fighters. Above all, we are survivors. I'm not saying I do not fear dying or becoming penniless, because I do; but wisdom, resilience, a mature perspective − even stubbornness − are hard-won prizes of this process we call aging. What this essentially means is that "growing old" in itself is nothing short of an accomplishment of gargantuan proportions, don't you think?
At the other end of the spectrum, those who find it an insurmountable challenge to accept the fact that they are getting old tend to react negatively when faced with the natural changes that are part of aging. This adds a lot of unnecessary stress and strain to their lives; and when they fail to manage these, the risk of depression setting in suddenly becomes very real. That's why I, for one, tend not to think too much about getting old. Why should I? If I'm gonna sit around whining or mulling over the meaning of existence and how rapidly time is running out for me, I'm convinced I'm not going to age successfully. Self-denial? I really don't know and I hope not; but it sure beats the way the guy who focuses only on what's not working anymore is going to live out the rest of his days.