Ageing gracefully

Published On: March 3, 2019 12:30 AM NPT By: Dr Aruna Uprety

Age does not matter. We must learn to make peace with our flaws and learn to be thankful for what we have and who we are

A few weeks ago, I met some old friends from high school. We had completed our schooling in 1975. Meeting after so long was pleasant and brought back old memories. We were yelling, chatting, making jokes and making fun of each other as if we were still in high school. Looking at us, my 80-year old mother complained, “You haven’t grown up at all, you are still behaving like young girls.” We took her remark as a compliment and told her that we wanted to enjoy our lives, no matter what our age. We don’t have to be serious all the time. I told her that we are young in our heart and want to enjoy life.

After undergoing treatment, she had joined our get together for the first time. She was joking about her husband and sons’ unhappiness after the cancer diagnosis and her bald head.  Like Rajani, each of us has our own struggles. We all are in our late 50s.  Some suffer from health problems while others have lost loved ones. All of us must still go ahead in life. But Rajani inspires us to not take everything so seriously.

When I recall that day of get-together, I feel happy that we were learning to grow up gracefully. Challenges come but we must learn to cope with them. That day we talked how after 50, we no longer care much about how people will judge our hair, make-up, or lipstick. We talked about how we used to be afraid of our in-laws and had to ask permission even for minor things, though we all had jobs and earned money. We used to be upset for some small things like breaking a cup. “Not any more,” we had said and had laughed loudly. 

Why things have changed so drastically, we wondered. One answer is that time has changed. Today, more people accept and even encourage women working outside the house. More importantly, we have changed and adopted ourselves. 

We are no longer insecure. We do not make cup of tea to make other people happy, but we do it because we like it and it makes us happy. We have now gained enough confidence to be comfortable in our own skin, with our own values, our ideas, our own clothes and kitchens.  We discussed that we no longer need to make excuses. If we do not want to cook or shop, we can say so.

We now feel that if some one gossips about our looks, our clothes, mobile, or bags, it is their problem , not ours. We now know that whatever people say about us, they are not the ones running our lives and running our household and paying our bills. So why bother about their opinion? 

One of our friends, Mamata, 59, had just arrived from China after staying there for 20 years. She told us how life had become stressful in China and how everybody was obsessed with their looks. She said women spent too much money going into salons and parlors. She said “I had also become like that. But I realized eventually why spend so much money for a single day? I already have a family that loves me regardless of how I look. When I realized this, my life became much easier and I felt unburdened. My family members even did not notice. My children continued to make fun of me as before and my husband didn’t even notice. I felt relieved and and happier.”

After spending four hours with friends of 43 years, we learnt that if we want to be happy, we do not need to be angry or sad or overthink things that we cannot change. Our age does not matter, for age is just a number. We must learn to make peace with our flaws and learn to be thankful for what we have and who we are.

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