TITLE: Live Life and Not Your Age January 15, 2015
By Yolanda Payne
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People often change as they age. Some begin to modify the pace of their lives. Women sometimes alter their style of dress. Some even begin to modify their behavior.
Are these change due to changes in their body and its functions or are these merely behavioral modifications? Are these behavior changes due to beliefs that an older person should act a certain way? Men often retire and discontinue all physical activity. Maybe the cessation of active behavior is due to mental attitudes they have adopted regarding the acceptable behavior of the retired?
I often reflect on a story one of my students told me about her parents. After their retirement her parents moved to Atlanta from New York to be closer to their children. Her mother insisted that she did not intend to work because she had worked hard enough in New York. She was going to settle down and enjoy her retirement She often spent her days watching soap operas and thus she was not very active. Her father was the type of man who needed to be active. He obtained a part-time job driving a school bus. The hours were excellent and did not require him to work a nine to five job. He picked up the children in the morning and dropped them off in the evenings.
Let's consider their situations. Her mother gained weight. She developed various illnesses. Was there a relationship between her lack of activity and her weight gain and various illnesses? I say yes. Were her problems the result of mistaken beliefs about how a retired should act? I say yes. Her father was healthy. He often had a smile upon her face. Her mother was unhealthy. She often had a frown on her face.
A friend and I visited a church in Savannah Georgia. Near the end of the service, I decided to go out side. After services were completed people began to exit the church. An elderly or mature woman walked out of the church and began to go down the church steps. Assuming she needed help I offered to assist her. A man standing nearby asked me not to assist the lady because she did not require my help. I thought the man was rather rude but I ceased my attempt to aide the woman. She held unto the church rails as she walked down the steps.
When Theresa, my friend came out of the church she was excited as she told me about a woman in the church who was 96 years old that day. I could not believe it because had never met someone that age. Because I wanted to see her face and talk talk with her, we rushed to her car. Expecting to see someone with a shrunken face, I was surprised when I discovered the 96-year-old woman was the woman I had earlier observed leaving the church. I was overwhelmed and could not believe it. I asked her age and she responded 96 years. I asked her what was her secret. She responded, "I live life and not my age." Her words caused me to reflect upon how an older person should act. Should we refer to older people as mature adults?
Maybe we should refer to them as mature adults. Does an individual become elderly when he reaches a certain age? I have accepted her words as my motto and my life position. I too will live life and not my age.
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