Tuesday, November 17, 2015

# Old Age and # Unhappiness

Being old today is more stressful than it ever was before.

The sea-change which we are witnessing in our lives leaves us oldies panting to keep pace.Hitherto simple activities are becoming more and more complex and tech-driven.Whether it is using your mobile,viewing the T.V,opening car doors and windows,operating the faucets in plush new-age buildings--everything is in a state of flux.Even lodging a complaint for a land-line phone or booking an L.P.G gas cylinder is not as simple as it used to be.And going to the cinema or mall is fraught with challenges of basement parking,lifts,escalators,A.T.Ms,credit cards and more.An attempt to grab some entertainment results in tension and perspiration. 

We learn a few tricks only to be confronted with many more.A deterioration in physical prowess and mental faculties makes all this an uphill task and if we give up, then there is the danger of being side-lined for ever.Life today is all about smartness and achievement.We lag behind sorely on these counts and it is very humiliating.

Lack of Support

Gone are the days when we could entrust the difficult jobs to our kids and rest in peace.They have moved out in search of their dreams.Very natural and understandable,but it leaves the whole drudgery of running the home upon our frail shoulders.It no doubt,energizes us and keeps us agile but it can also be very tiring.

There are groceries to be bought and countless bills to be paid;beginning with electricity,water,mobile,DTH,clubs and house tax etc.Then there is the upkeep of our homes,the umpteen repairs which crop up from time to time.Day and night connectivity is of little use when there is work to be done at the ground level.

Failing Health

All this becomes very difficult due to failing health which is the hallmark of old age.Any new symptom is cause for concern and the whole exercise of fixing doctors' appointments,undergoing various tests and procedures and coming to terms with the assault of a new disease on your body--all this has to be suffered mostly all alone.If you are lucky you may have your spouse with you but s/he too is likely to be in the same basket.


Diseases are not only painful and alarming-they are also very demeaning,especially when you lose control over your body functions.Being bathed,sponged,clothed,diapered and fed on bed--all this is hard to adjust to.You are forced to jettison your modesty and body-shame.Your children will do all they can to alleviate your suffering but the agony of being a burden upon others is ever present.
Loneliness
We all love the company of friends and relatives.It is an excellent mood booster.But the company of our peer group dwindles at an alarming pace.One by one,they leave for their ultimate destination.This leaves us lonely and worried.It is not easy to strike up new friendships at our age.The vacuum remains.
Lack of Occupation
We have all the time in the world but very little to occupy us.The drudgery of running our home does not count.Those whose life till now was focused upon their family and career are suddenly bereft of all responsibilities.The career has come to an end and the children are capable of managing their own lives.Is it any wonder then,that we feel useless and redundant?This results in a lot of rumination which is poison for peace of mind and good health.
A Feeling of Insignificance
This is the last straw.When you feel that your knowledge,expertise and skills are no longer required you feel useless and insignificant.It destroys your self respect and you lose the will to live.Mental disorders like anxiety and depression barge in.Your children will be anguished to see this change in you and they will try their best to help you but the spark has to be kindled from within.You have to banish negative thoughts and believe in yourself.

In order to bring this about it is necessary to join the mainstream and connect with people.Strike up a conversation with those you come across,whether it be a shopkeeper,a vendor or someone standing next to you in a queue.This will ward off loneliness,which,research shows,can cause early death.It will also give you something to think about in the lonely hours.


Daily walking too,is a must.When you go out you meet people,greet them,they smile back at you and the cloud lifts up a bit.You absorb Vitamin D,which maintains bone density,reduces Triglycerides and cures depression.Stretching exercises,yoga and meditation too,are excellent tools for nurturing body ,mind and soul.The idea is to keep up an optimum level of activity.

Entertainment comes close behind.A hobby you could not pursue earlier can be taken up now.Even simple activities like playing cards,board games,coloring,solving puzzles watching TV or listening to music can add freshness to a dull day.The whole purpose is to pass the time in a happy way and stop your mind from reveling in distressing thoughts.

Many people find solace in prayer meetings.Gratitude for the blessings bestowed upon us,the good times we lived through and a faith in the Almighty will enable us to live the sunset years in the best possible manner.

Any more ideas anybody?

Related post --
http://jeeteraho.blogspot.in/2015/07/old-age-blues.html

Image courtesy google.


16 comments :

  1. It is as bad as it gets for our generation :) So much has changed so fast that our 'experience' truly counts for nothing. To learn to look inward for happiness has never been more necessary - for externally we find ourselves totally left behind and useless :)

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    1. Thanks for the commiseration Suresh,even though you are not a member of 'that' generation.Yes,in looking inwards lies the solution.

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  2. Oh, I have discussed these and some more in the series on elders I had written a while back. There is no one solution to any of the problems faced by elders nor are the problems similar, mainly because individuals differ in their temperaments, outlook and responses to events. But yes, community is every important during the older years. Being part of real-time community -- be it a prayer group, a 'walking' group, a yoga group or activity group, it makes up for the loss of the immediate family's proximity. Virtual communities can fill the void to an extent, but are poor seconds to the real ones.

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  3. I remember reading those series Zephyr,you had taken great care to include everything.As you say,real time connections are very important.
    Lots of love.

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  4. It's a harsh truth. We are too busy in our fast paced life to spare a thought for them, however we forget that even we will be in their shoes some day. Time, the eternal equalizer will ensure that.

    You have indeed given some brilliant and helpful ideas. Great job, Indu! :)

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    1. It is almost impossible to imagine the elders' plight till we ourselves experience it even though we may be very caring and affectionate towards them.The shoe has to be worn to realize where it pinches;
      Coming from you ,this is great praise Rakesh.
      Thank you and welcome to jeeteraho!

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  5. Lovely post! A issue I too very strongly feel about and had penned down my thoughts about it a while ago.

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    1. I will look it up Leena,good that our thoughts synchronize.

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  6. I agree with you 100 percent. I can see that the old people are finding oit difficult to adjust themselves to this gadget world.

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  7. One very important point according to me Indu ji ---the fact that we look and behave younger than what our elders looked like at the same age -----adds to our work load brought upon us by ourselves ----omething like acting the superwoman is like apne pawon pe khud kulhari marna ---similarly this age factor

    don't you agree?

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    1. A penetrating insight there !You are certainly right.There is a world of difference between my mom at 70 and me at the same age.But all these new gadgets do befuddle me.I may catch up on a few but so many new gizmos loom up on the horizon.It is a matter of taking pains-i know you are pretty good at them.
      Lots of love

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  8. you have said all of it :) I can see your pain and feelings through the post. It is really not as easy as it seems. It scares to me think how it will be when I get old. I am sure things will be more Techy than they already are. First it was Orkut, Facebook, Skype...now it is Whatsap, Face Time...

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    1. Latha you young ones are so good in this tech stuff that i doubt you will ever feel out of sync.You will keep pace with the changing times.
      Love n hugs.

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  9. This is really eye opening and I understand these things, I can also see and understand the things you mention here. When my grandmother was alive, we lived nearby and were always there to help her with anything she needed, shopping, technology, just anything. It was so valuable to us I think to be able to do this for her. Caring for her was a blessing. The world is different today in so many ways and in some cultures, respect for older people is very lacking but not everywhere.

    Thought provoking post and important as well. Lots of love, Colleen

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  10. You said it Colleen--being able to care for your elders IS a blessing and if we falter,it pinches for ever.
    Love n hugs.

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Thanks for reading my post.I hope you liked it :).