What is the definition of “Getting Old”? Is “getting old” about a person’s age or maybe it really has nothing to do with the number of years a person lives?
There are good and bad connotations about “getting old”. There are true hallmarks of becoming older, such as doing things slower than usual, forgetting more easily, getting wrinkles, and needing more rest than before. No doubt, age usually begets a breakdown in our physical and mental capabilities; but, does that actually mean we are “getting old?”. Does “getting old” really have to do with declining health and succumbing to its struggles or is it more about life experiences and the value of what you have to offer?
Maybe “getting old” has more to do with the characteristics developed after being around for a long time. After battling through the thicket of life’s circumstances and succumbing to the many bumps along the way, what kind of outlook does an older person develop over the years? Of course, we are all different and respond uniquely as we journey down the road.
Those who have aged have a choice of “getting older”. Maybe “getting old” is when you are absorbed with the loss of what you had before or what you don’t have now?
Or, maybe the choice is to experience the maturity and thoughtfulness of this life. There is definitely some truth to the saying, “Wisdom Comes with Age”, although this is really determined by the one “getting old”. Wisdom is about looking through the lens of what really matters; yielding to a backlash of experiences, seeing the forest and not just the trees, summarizing life’s issues, and deriving conclusions by gaining perspective or a well-rounded view of what is important. “Getting old” can be about building tolerance, patience, fortitude, understanding, focusing on what truly matters, having more confidence and feeling a calling or moral responsibility to speak up for the sake of the upcoming generations. “Getting older” may be a beautiful thing. What a ripe moment to enjoy life, if you choose to.
Claudia A. Liljegren, MSW, LICSW