Last few weeks, I have come across multiple news articles about old people who are now living a life of recluse and many even struggling financially, in-spite of their rich career in prime.
While having a discussion about this with a few friends, it was strange to find that there was no unanimous voice of sympathy. Instead there was a varied range of opinions which startled my traditional old school belief. Thought of sharing my views and gather opinion from learned minds here.
While we were growing up, the time when technology was just about to malign our minds, philosophy was very straight and simple. Respect elders! No questions asked. If someone is older to you, senior citizen precisely, you cannot question their doings but their age and wisdom has to be respected, PERIOD!
Times have changed drastically in a decade or two. Today age is not directly proportional to respect one gets. The past baggage, if any, comes along and today’s generation is not ready to bow down to anyone with doubted credentials. I remember having a discussion with one of my newly appointed ex colleague, about a very senior professional who retired and was living alone and when I decided to pay a visit to him and asked my colleague to join, she refused and said he deserves aloofness for his arrogance. I was shocked and tried to hold my ground by giving her logics and reasonings, however she ended the discussion with a statement that Age is Just A Number!
Is age just a number!?! I might want to believe it as I am on the wrong side of 30, but I don’t think I am just hitting a number randomly. I am carrying forward all my experiences along with that number. I am no saint, I have made mistakes in my prime youth too and I want to remember them to be able to pass on wisdom to the the numbers below me.
My grandfather is 89 and I have been very attached to him since my early years, he was a strict disciplinarian in his 40s and 50s. Even till his 70s he was very strict and all of us were scared of uttering anything extra / unnecessary in front of him. The same man today is a fragile baby. He cries at the drop of a hat and doesn’t shy away from expressing his emotions. He has lived an exemplary life always. Had a flourishing career, helped many people in his journey and he planned his life well since the beginning and by god’s grace he doesn’t look for people for any financial support. But all he expects is someone to sit beside him and listen to his life experiences. He feels like talking about all those moments and memories he has not shared with anyone so far. I try to visit him everyday whenever I am in my hometown and every time I visit him, he would take a paper out with points written on them. These are the chits which remind him of what topics he wants to talk about, which otherwise he would forget owing to dementia.
There is a reason for the quote “To Err is Human”. Why do we expect our elders to be godly? If we start respecting them as humans with more experience than us probably our outlook towards them might change. Yes a person might have made mistakes in his youth and probably wasn’t the best of example for human race, but as an elderly all he / she is expecting from us is to listen to their long forgotten memories. Don’t forget how they were in their youth, but you can definitely forgive their past and respect their present.
Age is not just a number… but each passing year is a milestone with journeys of experiences and wise is the one who makes mistakes and learns but is the one who learns from others’ mistakes and avoid repeating them! And the kind of wisdom grey hairs with high prime numbers as their age can share, is priceless!