Of Questions about Aging

Of-questions-about-Aging Christopher Daymiel Malazarte  |   5 mins read February 18, 2021 | 64 eye icon

Before I reached fifty, I used to wonder what life would be like at that age. What lies ahead and questions about health and self-worth. Entering old age makes a lot of people think about their usefulness as they begin to feel the despondency of the weight that comes with it – problems related to health, dexterity, productivity, and thinking ability. 

More than that, people who are at this stage of their life also start to feel the emotional struggle. Loneliness creeps in when their children become adults who are more interested to be with their friends or engaged in their relationships. Even more devastating emotionally is seeing the frailty of their parents and for some, or for many, their demise. All of these are very real and are unfolding before me. My father died in 2015 and my mother was rushed to the intensive care months ago and is currently cared for by health care workers at home.  

It is not uncommon for people to resist old age and I happen to be one of them.  The resistance is not about the age or the number itself (although I know a great many people who do not want to talk about it) but the fact that I have to give up certain freedoms for the sake of health like eating ice cream or fast-food, having my favorite beverage and certain hobbies.

Your body starts to limit your freedom related to things that you used to do or loved doing (like sports) and that becomes dreadful and exhausting. The truism “The spirit is willing but the flesh is very weak” is more than just a grain of truth but a solid reality a man of my age will have to accept for the remaining years of his life.    

This subconscious resistance (to old age) also manifests in people of my age because we are caught unprepared emotionally to accept that we are going to lose our being parents to our children. Parents naturally feel the need to exercise their authority and parental guidance. But as your children start to reason for themselves, the hurt comes when you suddenly realize that what you say is of little or no value to them anymore. Then you begin to ask yourself so many whys. Why this has to be this way or that way or why not my way. Why things turn out so different as you once thought of it (old age) when you were younger.       

Although I do not know if my experience is unique or shared by many others, one thing I noticed of myself lately is that I ask more questions than before like a curious child, eager and persistent to know right away the things around him.  I tend to think that God or the gods must have designed old age this way to tell us that we are as naïve as we were the moment when we took our first breath and continue to be so when we breathe our last. 

Perhaps, this is all but a part of midlife or what others would like to call a “midlife crisis”.  Whatever it is, we all go through the inevitability of such transition and I am curious if we all ask the same questions. 

And for some reason, there are times that I tend to disagree that wisdom comes with old age because the answers are elusive despite the fact that we have amassed all the experiences and knowledge from the people around us --- our parents, our teachers, our mentors, our religious teachers and sacred scriptures, friends, and those we interact with or from what we read.    

Or is it simply because people my age ask very difficult questions? Or have these questions already been asked before but no one answered? Or is it because the questions we ask have no answers to begin with? 

I am not asking why people age or why things age since all things age for as long as there is time. For without time there is also no age, philosophically speaking. 

What I am asking really is why do we have to age this way? Why do we have to endure the tragedy of physical and emotional weaknesses over time? 

More than anything else, as we age, it seems that we know so many things yet we still wrestle for answers to the very things we already know like age and mortality. Maybe Aristotle was right when he said, “The more you know, the more you do not know.” Or is the fact-of-life of aging all about knowing and not knowing at the same time?  I really don’t know. 

Maybe we resist aging or are anxious because we simply do not know what it is. Or maybe, as we age, while we know so many things, we want to only keep those things that we are used to or are familiar with, that we tend to separate the familiar reality of aging as an unfamiliar concept of living.  The reality of aging is as common as the green leaves of spring  withering during the bleak cold of winter. But we only want to remember the flowers and the trees and the butterflies and appreciate less the beauty of the snow. 

The one thing that keeps me from asking questions all the time or when thoughts about aging come up, I put in mind some of the beautiful lines from the poem Desiderata, “Take kindly the counsel of the years, and gracefully surrender the things of youth…nurture strength of spirit to shield you from sudden misfortune.”   

From where I am now, whatever or wherever life takes me, maybe I will carry with me not the questions but the memories. 

Christopher Daymiel Malazarte
Vice President- Marketing
Philippine Real Estate Management Solutions, Inc (Premsi)
Philippines

Master of International Business Administration

 

 

 

 

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