Questions about Aging
When Booth Tarkington, the writer, was 75, he was asked whether old people felt old in spirit. "I don't know," he replied. "Why don't you ask someone who is old?"
Who are the old? How to you define old? We are all aging. If we stop aging, that means we died. We have heard that people die of old age. But I have never seen on a death certificate: Cause of death---old age. No, as long as we are alive, we are in the process of growing, maturing, and advancing in age; but not necessarily growing old.
I. Society's Attitudes
One of the myths of our time is that when a person has reached 65 or 70 he is obsolete. 20mill. people in America are over 65. 15 thousand are over 100. In 1980, persons over 65 comprised over 11% of our population and spent about 65 billion dollars annually. 4,000 people become 65 every day. We are all getting older and we are all living longer. With the decline in the birth rate, the population is sloping in the opposite direction. The predominant group in society will be those folks over 65.
Yet society seems to look on aging with disdain. Think of the commercials and magazine advertisements. "Hate that gray? Wash it away." "Feel young again." Society seems to say, don't show your age.
Until recently forced retirement plunged many into idleness and other into destitution. Even if a person is till in full control of reasoning and manual skills, society usually pushes him aside for a younger man, as if youth alone will fill the vacuum of knowledge and experience. The notion that the elderly have an automatic age at which they stop producing is nonsense and is challenged by recent studies.
Attitude is a key factor in whether or not a person is old. A young woman said to an older friend one day, "I wish I could grow old gracefully like you." "My dear," the older woman replied, "You don't grow old. When you cease to grow you are old."
The Book of Joshua contains a delightful ...
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