11 good things about old age
I know that old age is a relative term, but watching a woman of 100 voting in the local elections here in South Africa recently made me think about some of the incredibly positive things that come with old age. My age is now such that at 20 I could never even have imagined what it would be like to reach this age—and that was some 50 years ago. As they say, ’do the math’, but really that is immaterial to the fact that while the cliché ‘old age is not for sissies’ is true, it also has some real advantages.
Reason # 1
Old age gives you time to do the things that you never had time to do when you were rushing around trying to support a family. Now the kids are grown up I can spend time doing things with the grandkids that their parents don’t have time to do. When I get tired I can give them back to their parents, hopefully richer for the experience of catching their first fish or feeding the birds at the local nature reserve.
Reason # 2
Another benefit of more time allows me to travel and explore the world and spend time working on my photos on my computer. A six month trip around the USA was not a possibility 20 years ago when I was doing two jobs and working to earn the pension that I am now spending.
Reason # 3
A third advantage of having more time is that I can prioritize my time and do the things that are really important. Coaching the girls soccer team at the school I taught at was a great experience that I will always really cherish. I still drink coffee from the mug they gave me at the end of the season to say thank you. But somehow I have moved on to other things, as well, like writing this article.
Reason # 4
Playing golf of the senior tees is a privilege that only comes with old age, and while it may not sound like much it rates up there with the pensioner’s discount that I get when booking accommodation in the South African National Parks.
Reason # 5
Every year of your life also is blessed with opportunities to do things that are sure to create great memories. It is not always the expensive and big things that provide those important memories but the magic moments, ‘that money cannot buy!’ If only we can recognize them. Old age sometimes can give us a better perspective also in this area. Read a good book, see a good movie, or do something for someone else.
Reason # 6
Looking back and remembering some of the great things that you enjoyed in your younger days bring a satisfaction of its own. When I watch the Blue Bulls playing the Sharks at Coca-Cola Park it brings back the times when I was privileged to play rugby on the same ground, when it was still called Ellis Park.
Reason # 7
Every year also produces a heap of new sporting memories that can firstly be enjoyed because I have the time to watch them, and can then be added to the memory bank of ‘Wow!’ moments such as South Africa winning the Rugby World Cup in 1994 or was it 1993? No matter as I can still see that last kick flying over the cross-bar. I have time to watch the Open at St. Andrews when Louis Oosthuizen won, or the Masters when Carl Schwartzel won, from the comfort of my recliner. No longer do I have to be walking the course and travelling around the world because my T.V. allows me to do it much more economically and comfortably.
Reason # 8
Managing my health better, eating more sensibly and exercising more regularly comes with the wisdom of old age because time is available and my wife reminds me that it is time to go for our daily swim in summer or walk in winter.
Reason # 9
Old age allows you to live a life that is freer from the challenges of worldly pursuits such as ‘keeping up with the Joneses’, and trying to be cool. In younger days this used up a lot of energy and time but now a calmer spirit dominates my thinking. Yes I would love to have that new Toyota Land Cruiser but my old Toyota Condor does the job quite adequately of getting me from A to B and even to C, if I really need to get there. I can even wear socks with my sandals if I like!
Reason # 10
Enjoying life and making a valuable contribution to this world is not the task of any particular age group but all of us should learn to slow down and think about what is really important. Reading ‘Walden’ by H.D.Thoreau again helped me to think about this life and what is important and what is superficial. The demands of society sometimes derail us on the journey of life and it is often only as we get older that we learn to see thing more clearly even if our eyesight is diminishing.
Reason # 11
Then finally as I grow older I have more time to spend with my wife, Audrey, who has blessed me by being my friend, companion and love for almost 50 years. What a privilege!
How do you know you are getting old?
You know you are getting old when:
- You try to get an entrance ticket at the exit point of the local shopping centre and after pushing the button a couple of times you have an epiphany when you realise that you have an entrance ticket already and need to feed it into the slot so you can exit.
- When you lock the car, and after entering the front door of your house you cannot remember if you locked the car or not, so you have to go back and check.
- When you dash off to worship (and you are preaching) and you forget to put your false teeth in.
- You put on your shoes and socks and it feels like you have been in a wrestling match.
- You got to the shopping centre wearing socks and slops and you don’t really care.
- You button up your shirt using the wrong button holes and when you realize it that evening you understand why everyone was so friendly, smiling at you all day.
- You know that you can kick that rubber ball rolling towards you, but find you are wrong.
- You know that you have children and grandchildren but remembering their names is a bit of a problem (A big problem sometimes).
- When your favourite TV show is the Antique Road Show and you wonder if some of your collectibles should be on it.
- When the “golden oldies” on the music channel are songs from the 70’s and 80’s and are ones that you have never heard of.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.
Mary Norton from Ontario, Canada on February 22, 2017:
I find I am calmer and wiser and can laugh at so many things that I took seriously before. It's good to be able to enjoy our older years but you need to also prepare for this to happen.
johan smulders on October 10, 2013:
Excellent point Andrew. Thanks for the great comment and God Bless.
Andrew on October 09, 2013:
This makes me want to spend more time with them because they know more than us because they been in this world longer than us. And I'm 13 and I know this
Johan Smulders (author) from East London, South Africa on May 24, 2012:
Got its good points, Thanks again!
Brittany from Buffalo, NY on May 24, 2012:
Old age doesn't sound so bad (although I agree with Gill Harris above)! I'm especially looking forward to 1, 2, 10, and 11. Thanks!
Johan Smulders (author) from East London, South Africa on May 11, 2012:
Gill Harris from South Africa on May 11, 2012:
Perhaps we should be trying to do as much of this as we can, now, instead of waiting till we are older, although it is not always possible. Something to aspire to.
Chris Hugh on May 07, 2012:
Great list, it gives me something to look forward to.