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Doctor's Consultation  by Dr. Iain Corness

 

The Ageing process - and how to beat it

Can you beat the aging process? A mixed answer I am afraid, sort of Yes and No! Well, you can’t stop getting older, but you don’t have to mature!
Looking at the local scene, there are many retired British ex-pats, and with the cost of living and the dreadful climate in the UK (summer fell on a Tuesday last year), do you blame them for seeking a warmer retreat for their dotage? But is everyone over the age of 65 really dottled? Simple answer, No! But those of you over 65 will have found that the younger generation tries to push you into that retired person’s home category. Here we go - God’s waiting room and who’s next to die!
A few years ago, my eldest son (then 29 years old and a strapping 6’6") and I went to the UK to visit my dear old Mum and my sister. While there we decided that father and son might like to go and explore the night life in the fairly large city close to my sister’s rural retreat. Upon asking where we should go in town for some drinks and dancing, I was told by my sister, “Oh there’s nothing for you there!” “What do you mean?” I replied. “You’re too old!” was the answer. “But what about him?” I said, pointing to 6’6" of youth and enthusiasm. “Oh he’s too old too,” was the response!
What a sad indictment of today’s world! At 29 years of age, this young fellow was considered to be too old to go out and enjoy himself? Of course, for me at age 60+, it was sinful to even contemplate it!
There is an unfortunate tendency in the western world to write everyone off after the age of 25. It seems you don’t have to wait till you are 65 to be redundant. But why should this be? The only real difference between “old” people and “young” people is that the older group have much greater experience. There is precious little of substance worth doing that older people cannot do. And I am not talking here about people over the magic (and arbitrary) 65 year retiring age. I am talking about anyone still wandering around the planet unaided, no matter how old they are. For example, if you are 80 years old and want to do a parachute jump, can anyone tell me why not?
The reason I say this, is that by the time a person is 80 years old, they have a fair idea of what they can or cannot do. After all, they’ve had that same body for eight decades, they must know it pretty well by now. The problems you come up against when deciding to do something is not usually a “physical” restraint, but a mental one. You get conditioned by the western society that you are ‘over the hill’ and you must sit in the corner and quietly rot away.
Well, that’s exactly what will happen to you if you do sit quietly in the corner! Like any living creature, you need stimulation (and I’m not talking about the ‘stimulation for hire’ bars), and mental stimulation will get you going physically as well. Forget about your chronological age and think about things that you want to do - and then work out how you are going to do these things.
Obviously, if you are 80 years of age and you tell me that you want to run a mile in four minutes, this is not only impossible, but it is silly! However, if you tell me you want to take up running and want to train for the marathon, I will say, “Go ahead!” I might suggest starting off with shorter distances and work on from there, but the concept is the same - if you want to do something - go ahead and do it.
Do not accept “age” as a barrier to anything. Work out how to do it and get on with it. Live life to the fullest, every day, for as many days as you have got left! And there is nobody on this earth can tell you how long that will be, not even Gypsy Petulengro.


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The Ageing process - and how to beat it