‘'No one knows when old age begins’’ the quote I read somewhere while preparing for my undergraduate exams to become a doctor. Now years have passed, I have grown old and I still remember this line in my head.
If we take a moment and observe other species like monkeys, birds, cows, etc. then you will see their younger generation is quite playful and curious and as they get older they learned to protect themselves, feed and explore but with some caution and then die due to old age. There is not much of a difference between one old lion from second old lion in terms of experience and age. To be honest all animals except humans (here I am not considering our ancestors like the chimpanzee, etc. because that will be totally out of context.) grow old in same way as their fellow animals. It is not like we can say that one lion was cool as he did something unusual in terms of experience which his fellow lion could not do before he died (unless kept in manmade zoo).
Now imagine as you are watching TV sitting on your comfy sofa, suddenly you see the news of death of someone famous. The first thing tv reporters say how he died then all day long they will go on with how he was as a person? Good/bad? How has he changed the world with his contributions, etc. Now as you are watching the news a thought comes into your mind what if I die like this? Will the world remember me? Am I a good or bad person to them? And then you might realize that there is more to life than just feeding, marrying and enjoying. Wait, I am not going to be a one who is going to lecture you about how to make his or her life better because that will be an unsolicited advice and chances are you might be more mature and intellectual than me. This post is about how exactly growing old and being a mature person are two different things. Some people I have met, assume that anyone who is older than you in age is an intellectual and more mature person. Some of them have such a rigid thinking that the moment they realize the younger person is raising some issue or keeping a different viewpoint in front of them, they take it as an opportunity to boost their ego and get offended. After that actual issue is pushed under the rug but whole different issue takes the center stage which is how a younger person dare to question the authority of older person. And there goes the difference, evolution has given to us as humans ‘the abstract thinking’ /’to reason’, to rationalize that other’s viewpoint can be different and better. This tells us there is a difference between growing old and being a mature person. What makes a person a mature one? I think a child is child because he can not rationalize much between good and bad, even if learns to rationalize a bit his innocent curiosity will make him do any things which we adult to consider as stupid. But is child stupid? I beg to differ from those immature adults. As the person ages, he learns what is right or wrong, good or bad, to rationalize, can make his own opinions and can explore more with greater caution, all these experiences make him a wise person. That’s why it is said as the person ages, he is supposed to be more mature. Whether it is young generation or old generation, both are dependent on each other. It is no about a competition, rather a healthy exchange of ideas. To be more precise ‘the trick is growing up without getting old.’
I believe we can retain certain characteristics from our childhood like how to be happy no matter what, how to be kind, how to be nonjudgmental and always curious. Similarly, as an adult we learn to differentiate between good and bad, how to defend ourselves and others. As someone said, ’live as if it was our last day and read as if we have to live forever.’ Growing old tells us to be more flexible in our ideas and become more proactive.' It is just that life is too short to learn from our own experiences so we should learn from other’s experiences too no matter how old we are. Growing up is like what a Great author Paulo Coelho explains: ‘'When we strive to become better than we are, everything around us becomes better too.’' Getting old is just something we can not control. We can learn by examples and set an example for others to follow. That’s why I think my ending note will be: Growing old is mandatory and growing up is optional. (Chris Davis) Choice is still yours!