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Getting old is a Frightening yet an enlightening experience

Popularity 5Viewed 1652 times 2014-4-19 10:01 |System category:Life| Getting, old, Frightening, yet, enlightening

After getting up this morning and taking a close look at the mirror, I was shocked to discover a grumpy old man starring back at me. A perplexing question crept into my mind: “Who is that old man wearing my cloth?” The harsh truth was abundantly clear. The old man is yours truly. What did happen to the energetic young individual who was full of life and joy? Answering that question was an easy yet a chagrined task: Age does that to you.

Sharing my thoughts with my Chinese wife, Caiyun, she acquired a generosity of spirit to uplift my moral by stating that I do not look my age. Of course, I knew that she felt obligated, as a devoted wife, to commit a white lie to cheer me up. Regardless of her intentions, her compliment did nothing to alter my state of mind.

Am I being pathetic feeling sorry for my fading youth? Maybe I am. However, despite the fact that no one can escape the aging process, we all wish to remain young forever. What does make us acquire an irrational fear of being old? Is it the knowledge that it will be the end of our roads? Does knowing that there is nothing to look forward to except the imminent visit by the grim reaper, scare the hell out of everyone?

On February 13th, 2014, I became sixty-four years old. Approaching that age brought a great deal of questions into my mind. Did I achieve at least most of my goals? Did I make a difference in the lives of people who were fortunate or unfortunate, depending upon their own perceptions, to cross my path? Do I have regrets pertinent to the decisions that I made during the span of my life so far?

Contemplating endlessly about the above questions, I came to the conclusion that there are no definite answers. One can drive oneself insane by dwelling on them.  Nevertheless, it became apparently clear that having my wonderful children, spending precious time with my family and friends and sharing my knowledge, experiences and wisdom with my precious students over the years were the highest accomplishments of my life.

As I was writing this article, I realized that there is no need for me to dwell on the past. I must focus on the present time to seize every opportunity to spread the joy of being alive around me and  to exert every possible effort to make a positive difference in the lives of those who share my environment. I may be old but I still have a great deal of energy to guide my students toward accomplishing their objectives, to grant my family the chance to experience happy moments and to share my experiences with my distinguished readers.

(Opinions of the writer in this blog don't represent those of China Daily.)


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Reply Report laoren1234 2014-4-19 11:50
Very well said. And from one old man to another (I turned 65 last year): with our wisdom who need the looks?
Reply Report ColinSpeakman 2014-4-19 17:09
If someone asks, What way do you not want to die? The answer has to be ..prematurely. Sadly many do.. So growing old is not so bad ...it sure beats the alternative!  
Reply Report teamkrejados 2014-4-20 11:49
I panic because I'm not done seeing, doing, being . There is too much in this world that is breathtaking. The idea of running out of life before all that beauty and joy can be experienced, to me, is... sad. How about you?
Reply Report MissBarbara 2014-4-20 12:44
Wait, I confused you with someone else. Hey, they are making me retire at 62! And you're 64? How did you pull that off?
Reply Report MissBarbara 2014-4-20 12:46
Oh, you have a Chinese wife! Lucky!

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