Wednesday, February 17, 2010


The thought of aging fills many people with dread . It seems the pessimistic and depressing  mood which pervades their view of old age, is a contemporary reflection of the complaint expressed many years ago in Psalms 31:9-12 “Take pity on me, Yahweh, I am in trouble now…”The question we should ask ourselves is that,”why do people fear aging?” Yet  aging is biological process that we must all undergo.

I have interacted a lot with older people and in the processes learnt that fear of segregation contributes a lot to fear of aging. When people grow old they feel left out of the society. This is because they are not able to live up to the expectations of the environment in which they live in. That is you are what you can produce, achieve, have and keep. Therefore those who are forced by their retirement laws to give up their desire for more property and power are looked down upon as having passed the line of productivity. They are tolerated but no taken seriously.
Interestingly  poor people rarely feel this way. This is because they are used to being isolated by the rich , so to them, aging is just part of life. They were born in the village and they will die there.

In contrast, the working class is greatly affected by segregation. This is because after being given a golden handshake you go back home to unfamiliar world in the village. Used to an active life or just socializing they find themselves idle when they retire.Their lifestyle undergoes a radical change. Their move to the village separates them from their close friends.
We all have only one life to live but  only a few get really close to you and travel its longer part with you, sharing the moments of ecstasy and despair, as well as the long routine days.When you get separated, you have to travel alone. In deed you can not ask even to the friendly people you will meet on this lonely journey,"Do you remember?" because they were not there.
 This might  explains the reason why over the years, anti-aging fixes have spawned a multibillion dollar industry. Many people feeling young because they seem to have won the fight against,oblivious of the consequences.While some people choose to enhance their  appearance by, say dyeing their hair, that is not the issue. My concern is when people equate aging to disease and pathology as that is incorrect.

Is that the reason why the retirement age was moved to 65years? And did you realize that most of the politicians were claiming to be youths during the 2007 election campaign? Even those we truly know that they are above the youth line had  audacity to stand in public and say he or she is a youth and that is why the electorate should vote for them.
Perhaps this explains why those few powerful people who strive to escape segregation feel they can only do so by clinging to their property, power and influence thus becoming oppressor instead of the oppressed.

When I see how powerful old people in church and state often  hold to outdated view customs, thereby preventing real growth and development, I wonder whether,  in fact they are simply clinging to the only acceptable self identification left to them in our achievement oriented world. And that makes them as much victims of old age as their less fortunate contemporaries.


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