Ditch the specs and grow old disgracefully
As you get older and the day arrives on which you wake up and suddenly realise you’ve become an “old” person, there are certain rules you must begin to follow.
Whether this is carrying around hankies everywhere with you, investing in a new dressing gown or perhaps buying sensible and supportive footwear.
Stick to such rules, along with the most important of all, always keeping your reading glasses on hand, and you may just keep your dignity and grow old gracefully.
But who’s idea of dignity is this that we’re meant to be following? And why would we ever want to grow old gracefully?
If there’s anything getting older shows, it’s that keeping your dignity and living with grace is not about giving in to such cultural norms and social pressures, but following the wisdom of experience and the knowledge that you never have to follow such meaningless orders or listen to such rubbish.
And yet we still allow ourselves to be tricked. There are such strong social and cultural ideas about ageing being something negative, not to mention booming industries based on senior care and fighting back ageing with formulas and fads, that the burden to stay in line and conform can be overwhelming.
Deep, deep down, underneath the ideas we are told, we all know growing old is not something that’s bad, it’s not even one defined period in your life that you’re going through. Getting and being old is a state of mind that’s purported by the media, our environment, and the way in which you choose to live your life.
As such, the dreaded moment of realisation can happen to different people at different times in their lives. You can get a fifty-year-old who decides things are only going to get worse, or, you can get a spritely octogenarian who sees each moment through fresh eyes and has no intention of slowing down.
It’s in their genes, someone who resembles more the former person may say. But do genes really cause someone to lose their lust for life?
Is it really because of your genes that you “feel” old?
Even the whole idea that our bodies degenerate and simply break down as the years pass by is being turned on its head. Scientists have shown, for example, that whereas our ‘verbatim memory’ (ability to list things) may decline, ‘gist memory’ (ability to group concepts) improves, meaning we can actually retain more information through making better connections, and, as a result, can become infinitely more creative.
Whether you have crows feet, your hair’s turning grey, or every day your knees get a little stiffer. Some things just can’t be changed (well, you can try).
Other things, however, can be. And the biggest one of all is believing in the widespread idea of getting old as something to be ashamed of.
More than anything, then, being called an old person is a badge of honour, a symbol of how awake and at liberty you are to finally enjoy the world. But as I’m sure you know all too well, simply saying this is not going to change you from one day being old and grumpy to another being old and proud and embracing your incontinence and wobbly knees.
As well as being wise to the media and the conventional ideas in society that influences us, we also need to shape our environment and how we live so that they reflect how we really feel and allow our inner youth to shine through.
A good place to start is by getting rid of your granny readers and having Laser Eye Surgery. That way you can start seeing your life again through youthful eyes, throw away the rulebook, and grow older on your own terms.