Wisdom and Grey Hair!

Wisdom and Grey Hair!

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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!

38 Comments on “Wisdom and Grey Hair!

      • Brilliant Kalpana. Never thought about “Why” I should be respecting elders. Been very close to Mother and Father specially in their end days. My Mother passed away after 2 decades of health and psychiatric issues in 1994. Saw my eldest sibling take care of her like a baby. There will be certain time in the day when I will be all alone with mother. Would feed her lunch or help her to washroom. I had just finished my schooling and got enrolled in evening college for my Graduation. From morning till afternoon, I will take care of her. This was 93-94. I got very close to my mother during that phase. She passed away in Feb 1994. But that little period of 8-10 months in my life, I will be forever grateful to God for knocking some sense into my mind. Before that I was in World of my own. Would hardly spend time at home. After Mother’s Death, I got close to my Father. My Father was an encyclopedia of knowledge. My friends would come home and talk to him for hours if I am not around. Great Human Being. Selfless guy who had seen and experienced lot of hardships in his young age. He would have so many stories and incidents to share. He was 1928 born. So he had seen World War 2. He was in Burma that time. As I speak, I get emotional thinking about my parents. Consider very fortunate to have been born into a family of lovable souls. My siblings have been the same. Father passed away on Dec 31st 2006. I have fond memories of my Parents. Respect towards elders comes naturally to me thanks to relationship I shared with my Parents.

        Call it values or that their blessing means a lot to us. When I say elders, it does not mean just parents or blood relation. We may or may not get same attention or care when we grow old; become emotionally fragile and physically weak. But

  1. Brilliant Kalpana. Never thought about “Why” I should be respecting elders. Been very close to Mother and Father specially in their end days. My Mother passed away after 2 decades of health and psychiatric issues in 1994. Saw my eldest sibling take care of her like a baby. There will be certain time in the day when I will be all alone with mother. Would feed her lunch or help her to washroom. I had just finished my schooling and got enrolled in evening college for my Graduation. From morning till afternoon, I will take care of her. This was 93-94. I got very close to my mother during that phase. She passed away in Feb 1994. But that little period of 8-10 months in my life, I will be forever grateful to God for knocking some sense into my mind. Before that I was in World of my own. Would hardly spend time at home. After Mother’s Death, I got close to my Father. My Father was an encyclopedia of knowledge. My friends would come home and talk to him for hours if I am not around. Great Human Being. Selfless guy who had seen and experienced lot of hardships in his young age. He would have so many stories and incidents to share. He was 1928 born. So he had seen World War 2. He was in Burma that time. As I speak, I get emotional thinking about my parents. Consider very fortunate to have been born into a family of lovable souls. My siblings have been the same. Father passed away on Dec 31st 2006. I have fond memories of my Parents. Respect towards elders comes naturally to me. Its like I see my Parents in them. We all should understand that elders are not like old piece of furniture. They have so much to tell us. Value them more as they grow old. They would need your support just the same way we were taken care off when we our learning to walk and struggling to communicate.

  2. Excellent perspective.

    Age can be just a number for the physical dimension of life but it should not be when it comes to wisdom.

    Very true.

      • Very well put.
        While on one hand I would always uphold and respect the values of our elders
        I would still like to believe that age is just a number in the positive sense.
        As one nears menopause the women start to think that they are nearing the end and get depressed.They not only feel but also experience the symptoms of ageing.
        Hence I’m a strong supporter of age only as a number.
        Keep the youthfulness in you and you will remain young.
        Keep writing💞👌

  3. Good piece kalpana, I think I belong to the generation that believed in elders being right, specially directly related, grand father, father, grand mom and mom could be the ones whom one could take liberties with. At times we knew they were wrong but did not gave courage to point out just out of respect. May be we were less sure of ourselves. But this generation is sorted, they have clear priorities and no nonsense attitude. It has lot to do with information explosion that is today. In our days we would go yo dad or rand dad for advise on career on points for debate. This generation goes to Google and are far more equipped with information than we Elder. This gives them confidence, some time arrogance as well.

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