Saturday, May 07, 2011

Don't Start Dying at 60

After writing the previous post I thought how often we started to die once we begin our retirement. No, I don't mean it in a negative way but with declining health we are inclined to limit our activities and live more cautiously in anticipation of greater risks if we live our lives the way we are used to.

I am one of these people but feel angry that I am locking myself out of opportunities senior people often resigned themselves to be out of reach. And I envy those my age and older who are really living it up as if there is no tomorrow. Having written this I wonder if such an attitude is not of my own creation? After all no one compelled me to think this way and certainly I have resources to do what I like. Rethinking out of the box will help me stop digging my own grave early and help live a more abundant and fruitful life in my remaining years.

Having fewer choices is one common excuse. Old already! Weaker knees. Poorer vision. Heart not so good. Must eat more carefully on doctor's order. Not used to staying away from own bed, etc, etc. Self imposed imprisonment. No one can undo this except the man himself.

I often advise my staff and family: never say no but say maybe. This way you don't shut the door completely but leave a gap to reopen it. You always keep a spare key to undo any decision you made earlier in case it was decided wrongly in haste. Eat humble pie if necessary but keep your sanity up by reviewing and redoing what is right.

Growing old can be a stubborn trait to many people. Ego and pride often stand in the way of change and admission of mistakes. And being stubborn always close the door, maybe I should say slam the door, before the question asked obtained its question mark. It is a grave mistake we older people make when we attuned ourselves to say no as a default answer. We should change how we respond to the way we interact with people around us. When we say no, we inject negativity into the air, we fill our personal space with 'You are not welcomed' or 'Sorry, I'm not here'. In effect we say 'I cease to exist in your world'. But being alive and available can have a life changing impact.

You start off by being a happy self first. Happiness is not a gift someone gives you like a fairy touch you with her magic wand. Happiness is from inside yourself, a sense of wellness that you yourself decide for yourself. You can actually be happy when you are sorrowful because happiness is a standalone characteristic a person acquire through understanding what he wants out of his life. A happy person is in control of his destiny and life's changing circumstances are like changing weather. A happy person knows when to bring out the umbrella and not get annoyed or depressed by the environment. I think successful old people who are happy are positive and infectious in sharing their values, and likely to be welcomed and heard by people much younger.

I am inclined to think that that older people who are happy and know where he is heading also have a spiritual life he is comfortable with. We are after all not flesh and blood only but aside from our soul there is a spirit that keeps our body alive, that leaves when we die. A spiritual person knows where he heads upon death and has no fear in dying.

I love planning and I happen to believe that half of one's success in any venture is secured if we plan ahead and plan thoughtfully and realistically. Good planning must have a sister - frequent reviewing. Life is a lot like driving. You plan your destination, choose the route, drive and make frequent adjustments to changing driving conditions. Sometimes we can be on auto-pilot but most of the time we must stay awake at our wheel. Sometimes we set our life on cruising mode but consciously alert to brake or accelerate to avoid obstacles or danger. At whatever age we never stop driving. We can be chauffeured but we never leave the decision to the driver.

Some people draw a bell curve to represent our life cycle. The two tails stand for our childhood and our old age which have similar aspects of helplessness. There comes a time when we start to lose our mental faculty and physical coordination that require able adults to help us decide for us what to do. When that time does come we must willingly succumb to be led and fed. We are then ready to start thinking of dying. But not when we can still move, breathe and think on our own.

1 comment:

Peter Yew said...

Being positive and adventurous are your marks of good living. I'm glad you made the most of your time and opportunity to make others appreciative of who they are. Good of you to drop by. Take care.


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