If there’s one thing that I’ve heard countless of times from old people is this, “I’m already old. I don’t need to achieve anything anymore, I don’t need to learn anything new, I don’t need to grow. Death is approaching anyway…”

For a good first few years I actually believed them and thought of those statements as true. Well, I haven’t experienced being old yet then, so I didn’t know how old people should really think and behave. But now, I kinda disagree with them. Of course, some points are rather debatable and subjective to their own personal successes, but in general, for those whom have purposely died down and just “waiting for death & doing nothing”, that is what bothers me somehow.

See, I’ve met and talked to old people from my neighborhood, those whom I grew up with, and commonneers that are linked to my social circle or just in my income class per say. Most of which are living their lives with problems still at hand, words of complaint still being muttered, and have fine stress wrinkles due to years of well, plain stress. In harsh words, the not so successful old people. And this came from their very own mouths; they deemed themselves as unsuccessful.

I feel sad when they usually complain of how they never fully enjoy their lives or found true meaning, of how debts are still ringing in their heads and not having enough food even, to fill their families’ stomachs. Not forgetting the “bills, bills, bills” and “if only/I wish I did this or that…” mantras.

There are times when I want to just look them in the eyes and say, “your life isn’t over yet, and your age is not a barrier or something to be blamed.”

“You can still do something about your life and at least make a change, no matter how small/insignificant or too late you think it may be.”

I’ve watched a few documentaries and read a few true stories of old successful and happy people that start late and I realized that their mentality about life and their golden age vastly differs from the many others I’ve encountered. These successful pioneers are still full of energy, and are motivated about life; it’s as though they’re still young and have a lot to love about life. Which inspires me immensely. The fact that they still practice meaningful habits and continue to live and not just exist, makes me want to follow their footsteps. I want to be happy when I’m old too, heck especially when im old — I don’t want to die feeling miserable of myself.

That’s it! Maybe it’s the mentality that separates these two groups of elderly people. Their perspectives on life. One make things happen in their lives, while the other just lets life happens to them.

Now I’m not going to bolt off saying that they’ve done nothing to achieve their goals, because I know a great deal of whom have had a string of personal accomplishments along the way and I’m just as proud of them as they are.

But don’t give up just like that, just because you’re already 60, 70. Why stop functioning upon reaching those numbers? Why give up your potential to progress? 

Do you prefer to lie on your deathbed regretting what you could have done or start now and die knowing that you’ve at least been involved in the process of achieving meaning, even if you still didn’t achieve anything, but your actions have left some impact to others. I’m sure they still have some goals they still want to achieve. Something as small as doing your hobbies like gardening can have you interacting with fellow gardeners, inspiring that kid who is interested in farming or share your knowledge with others. You’ll at least close your eyes one day knowing that you battled through greatness and leveled up in your happiness rather than nothing at all.

I believe that these aged pearls still have something meaningful to offer, (unless life forces them to lie in bed) and they can do so with even the smallest actions. Because there’s a ripple effect and small can eventually become big, so don’t underestimate it’s power. Look at Tuesdays with Morrie, for example. Lives are inspired even after Morrie’s death, because he chose to share his wisdom instead of shutting himself off completely from the world.

I kind of feel slightly emotional because I relate this to my own parents. They’ve been wonderful, and they’ve shared with me their beautiful moments of accomplishments with me. But they still appear to be unhappy about something in their lives. Something is still not fulfilled in their hearts.

I know especially my mother, has worked her ass off her whole life, and giving so much to her family – love, attention, provisions. I can’t thank her enough. She and dad.

And even though she advocates strongly the importance of finding a stable job for oneself, I know deep down that one day she might regret spending most of her years working. And she can’t be blamed because that’s what she learned to do growing up. Her biggest desire in life now is to just retire and relax and savour what life can offer… but feels discouraged because she still has to work.

I want to be able to ignite in her, and my father, and other elderlies that just because they’ve aged, and may have not accomplished much in their lifetime, that they still can.

– Nadira Shirlonna

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