Modern western culture portrays old age as somthing scary, ugly, the end of all the good stuff, to be fought veheminately. Celebrities go to great lengths to stave off its onslaughts with diets, creams and cosmetic surgery till they look like walking skulls.
I remember the East where old age is venerated due to its wisdom, the old retired couples in China dancing in the park every evening, dining out surrounded by their children and grandchildren and how natural it seemed.
Part is due to the much healthier lifestyle (you seldom see old Chinese with a stick let alone a walker or wheelchair) and family ties are far stronger. The widow or widower helping with the grandkids seldom find themselves lonely. Old age is seldom lamented, rather seen it as a time of well deserved rest and enjoyment. There’s almost a holiday spirit about it.
How far have we in the west strayed from the natural concept of age. I came across the phrase, “old age is only disappointing if we find ourselves older in years without growing closer to God.” This also set me thinking. Feeling our lives have been well lived, looking back with satisfaction and forward with expectation gives peace.
The frantic striving to live every second because there are new wrinkles etc. so full of fear, for cancer, for strokes, for disabilities, drains us of the joys of old age. Growing closer to God brings peace and wisdom and with it the ability to enjoy this golden age slowly, deeply, like a vintage wine. We once knew this.
Age is opportunity no less
Than youth itself, though in another dress;
And as the evening twilight fades away,
The sky is filled with stars invisible by day.
(Henry Wadsworth Longfellow)