“Every man desires to live long, but no man desires to be old.” Jonathan Swift.
I think most people would agree with that. If like me, you are enjoying life, young at heart, with a positive mind and loads of enthusiasm, you just want it to continue forever. My wish has always been to die young, but as late as possible. Good health of mind and body is the key to everything and keeping the memory intact is vital to preserve the link with reality, with life and with the world. Losing your memory robs you of everything worth living for and deprives you of respect, dignity and self-esteem.
Sir Norman Wisdom sums it up:
“As you get older three things happen. The first is your memory goes, and I can’t remember the other two.”
And Leo Rosenberg spells it out:
“First you forget names, then you forget faces, then you forget to pull your zipper up, then you forget to pull your zipper down.”
So for me, aging and growing old is a state of mind. Now, don’t get me wrong. I know our bodies change with the years and tasks that we once did all night, now takes us all night to do. No, what I mean is that the fourth stage of our life can be just as happy, enjoyable and fulfilling as any of the other three stages. It’s all about how we organise it and our outlook and frame of mind. In fact, I believe that with a positive attitude and a focused mindset, we can actually slow down our aging, keep ourselves young, and have an active and healthy lifestyle irrespective of our age.
Some people are ‘hung up’ on old myths about age and aging and think they must ‘be their age.’ You hear them say: “Oh I couldn’t do that at my age.” Well, I usually answer that with a question:
‘What age would you think you are if you didn’t know your real age?’
You see, I believe that we are as old as we feel. We are all different. I have seen old men at forty and young men at eighty. I suppose it’s a bit like the motor car – it depends on the mileage and the service record. But the big factor is the mind. If the mind is right, the body will be right. The absence of stress, worry, and all the other emotional feelings that depress us will not only keep the head right, but will also look after our immune system, keeping our bodies healthy and strong.
But don’t just take my word for it. Doctor Google agrees with me one hundred per cent. In fact he has given me folders of proof confirming my believe that aging and growing old can be slowed down, curtailed and even stopped in its tracks with a proper attitude and a positive mindset. To make sure I was totally convinced he introduced me to a worldwide authority on the subject, Dr Deepak Chopra, who is an eminent medical doctor and an author of over forty books. This is what he has to say on the matter:
“Well over the years, I’ve looked at the biological molecules of aging. And these include things like blood pressure, bone density, body temperature regulation, skin thickness, the number of wrinkles, immune function, sex hormone levels, hearing, vision. There are a number of ways you can measure what we call biological aging. Then there’s something called “chronological aging”, which is from the date you were born. And then there’s “psychological age,” which is how young you feel psychologically.
And there is more and more data that the biological molecules of aging are more under the influence of psychological factors than the chronological age that we usually associate with. Of course there are other things that influence our aging process, including how we perceive time. If you’re constantly running out of time, then your biological clock speeds up, and you do run out of time with a heart attack or something like that. The quality of our self-esteem determines how we age. Our perception of our bodies as fields of energy or fields of matter influence how our body ages.
And there are many other things – the quality of our rest, as in sleep; the quality of our ability to manage stress through meditation; physical exercise; mind-body coordination through techniques such as yoga, and breathing, and martial arts; the quality of our relationships – whether we have toxic relationships or healing relationships; the quality of our emotions – toxic emotions or emotions that foster connectivity. These all influence how we age.
Aging is subject to revision, so you’re going to have somebody who is chronologically 80, but could be biologically 65. On the other hand you could have someone who is chronologically 25, but they are physically and mentally burnt out. And biologically they could be much older.
The fastest growing segment of the population in the world right now is over the age of 90, and in some cases over the age of 100 in some countries. So people are living longer. And even though much of it is attributed to modern medicine, it’s not. It’s lifestyle. It’s nutrition. It’s the quality of exercise, the ability to manage stress, and some of the factors that I mentioned.
I think everybody plays a role in their own aging. Some people accelerate it. Some people slow it down. Some people manage to reverse it. It all depends on how much you are invested in the hypnosis of our social condition. So if you believe that at a certain age you have to die and you become dysfunctional, then you will.”
So there you have it. The ageless Doctor Google is not only my daily guide to health and happiness, but also my motivator and travel agent, inspiring me and accompanying me on my long and exciting road of life. But of course like all living things I have to accept the one certainty we all face, our demise. I try not to think about it but as the years mount up, for some strange reason, like a little light, it keeps flashing in my mind. One day a few years ago, perhaps to banish the thought, I put those few little lines together. It didn’t work – it didn’t stop the flashing light. Ah sure what harm.
Sometimes I sit and ponder.
Sometimes I just sit,
And from this world, I wonder
Shall I soon exit.
My better years are over,
Yes, too well, I know.
But still I wonder how I’ll feel
The day I’ll have to go.
Will I fight a battle?
Protest, curse and howl,
Or will I bid a fond farewell,
Throw gently in the towel.
I’ve had a fair old innings,
I’m now three score and ten,
But if I made the hundred,
I’d scamper quietly then.
AN EXCERPT FROM ‘DOCTOR GOOGLE’ (My Guide to Health & Happiness)
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