Ageing Is Not Lost Youth But A New Stage Of Opportunity And Strength.

My title for this post is a quote by Betty Friedan. Here I wish to share with you some stories of people I know and their attitude towards age and life. You will agree with me, after reading their stories, that ageing should not stop us from enjoying our life and undertaking interesting tasks. We can stay active learning new subjects, acquiring new skills, finding love, traveling, working and undertaking community work. We can share the experiences that we have had with others. We can help our families and we can make the lives of those around us happy and fun. It is also up to us to be positive about life and about ourselves. It is up to us to believe that we can introduce change in our life.

Finding Love Again

Take my friend of many years, K. K is a widower and a grandfather. He is 82 years of age. Towards the end of last year he met a woman, S, 20 years his junior and he has since been seeing her. S has been divorced for some time and she is a business woman. She lives in another country and theirs can be described as a long term relationship. They have travelled to each other’s countries and met members of their respective families. They have also travelled together on holiday to resort islands.

K visited us recently and he was full of the joys of spring. He was lively, happy and quite energised. He was also looking trim and fit! I could not help thinking that this new relationship is good for him. He looks forward to his trips with his friend and he looks forward to being with his family. Life has taken a different dimension for him. K has a terrific sense of humour and he can get everyone around him laughing at his anecdotes. He is also a polite and courteous person. People who know him find him engaging and fun. K is also very literary and he writes poetry and loves classical music. He had been depressed after his wife passed away but is now back to his old self. I am sure that we can expect more poetry from him.

One other friend, who is in his seventies and who is also a widower, has met a woman in her fifties and the two are in a loving relationship. As with K and his friend, these two are from different cultures and countries. They have learned much from each other about their different cultures. They are delighted to learn about food, music, art, literature and life from each other. They have travelled together to different countries and they have met each other’s friends and family members. Our friend H is also polite and courteous. He has a wonderful sense of humour and he is caring and loving to L. L is very taken by his kind and considerate personality and his chivalrous manners.

We Can Take Action

Looking at the change in the lives of these people, I am now of the opinion that it is important for mature people to take action that will bring them happiness. Perhaps it is because of cultural trends and our upbringing that we feel that we should conform to the expectations that our society has of mature people. We believe that we should adopt certain behaviours. Sadly, many mature people sit alone and do not do much. Our community, in turn, does little to help mature people stay happy.

Many people often remain reclusive as they get older. If they are single, due to a spouse or partner who has passed away or divorced, they prefer to keep to themselves. They are not inclined to meet others, to engage in activities and even to travel. I believe that we should not shut ourselves off from other people and that we should continue to meet with others and to engage in new interests. We should be proactive and take the first step to experience something different. Change is not easy but change we must. It is all too easy to stay in the same mode, to do the same things and to engage in the same routine. With change our life becomes different, it becomes more exciting.


Mature people should not feel constrained by societal expectations. They should be free to work, if they want to, and undertake activities that they would like to try. I have a friend, John who works part time at a supermarket in England. He is in his seventies and he is a retired lawyer. He loves his current job and the opportunity it provides to meet people and to have conversations with them. This keeps John active and happy. He has stories to tell and he provides a good customer service for the organisation. John has an engaging personality and it would be a shame not to put this to use. As George Burns, the actor said, “Age to me means nothing. I can’t get old; I’m working. I was old when I was twenty-one and out of work. As long as you’re working, you stay young.”

Mature people should engage themselves in things which give them pleasure, even if these are considered things which are designed for the young. And they should find friendship and love with others. They should not shut themselves from the rest of the world.

Keep Active

I have long admired our friend DR who lives in Australia and turned 101 recently. Last year, the spouse and I attended his 100th birthday party. At the party there was a display of all the letters of congratulations which DR had received from very important people. There was one from the Queen of England, one from the Governor General of Australia and one from the Prime Minister of Australia. DR is a widower now but he has his friends to keep him company. DR sends me email messages and we talk on the phone as well. He is well informed and has had a very interesting life. When DR was in his nineties he would continue to drive his beautiful car. We have been driven by him. Each time we visited them, DR and his late wife would take us to the best fish restaurants in Sydney. We have been fortunate to have their friendship as they have enriched our lives. We both adore and admire DR.

Maintain Your Own Standards

Recently a friend sent me a video made in the United Kingdom of 6 mature women and their attitude to life. They dress flamboyantly, they work, they dance, they speak their minds, they work for the community, the society and the nation. One is 92 and a member of the House of Lords. Another has a younger male partner and a third dresses in a most exotic style. These women portray a lifestyle for mature women that is, exciting, fun and happy.

So my message to you is stay happy and be yourself. Forget the constraints and just enjoy life. Seize the day and live life! As the writer, Virginia Woolf said, “I don’t believe in ageing. I believe in forever altering one’s aspect to the sun. Hence, my optimism.”

14 thoughts on “Ageing Is Not Lost Youth But A New Stage Of Opportunity And Strength.”

  1. Great article. There is so much we can learn from the lives of these wonderful people. Thank you very much for sharing and for being a life example for me and Melissa. It was a powerful lesson for both of us. She now has a different perspective on aging 🙂 Much Love, Kristin

  2. Hi Zaibun, thanks for this. What ever age you are, today is the first day of the rest of your life, so no reason not to do whatever makes you happy – provided it doesn’t harm others!

    Warmest wishes


  3. Be forever young, and grow old gracefully as we are all young at heart…yes, changes and new excitement refreshes and make life anew. Like cycling from Highgate to Canary Wharf at the age of 50 and 60s.

  4. Well written Zaibun!

    Thank you for the inspiration to live life to the fullest at whatever stage in our lives.

    Stay Happy! Happy!

  5. Dear Zaibun,

    Both of us agreed with your excellent article. We both remember every morning to say “thanks” for another new day. Even age apart we are thankful of our commitment together. As such we find love and happiness in our life.

    From Hisaki and Lena

  6. Hi Zaibun!

    Thanks again for yet another piece of literary excellence! I am not sure how you do it but I do know that if I were to meet you 50 years from now, you would still be the same warm, quick-witted and considerate person that we have been privileged to know for so many years!

    I want to share with your readership, if I may, the slowness that accompanies ageing – a lighthearted but seemingly scientific view on the process of ageing. This is it:

    Brains of elderly are slow because they know so much by Sarah Knapton, Science Correspondent

    Older people do not decline mentally with age, it just takes them longer to recall facts because they have more information in their brains, scientists believe. Much like a computer struggles as the hard drive gets full up, so too, do humans take longer to access information, it has been suggested.
    Researchers say this slowing down it is not the same as cognitive decline. “The human brain works slower in old age,” said Dr. Michael Ramscar, “but only because we have stored more information over time “The brains of older people do not get weak. On the contrary, they simply know more.”

    SO THERE! We’re Brilliant! Or at least that is what we hope!

    I thought this prayer would help those of us who are ageing – and none of us is not!

    My dear God you know that I am growing older.

    Keep me from becoming too talkative, from repeating all my jokes and anecdotes, and particularly keep me from falling into the tiresome habit of expressing an opinion on every subject.
    Release me from craving to straighten out everyone’s affairs. Keep my mind free from recital of endless details. Give me wings to get to the point.

    Give me the grace, dear GOD, to listen to others as they describe their aches and pains.
    Help me endure the boredom with patience and keep my lips sealed,
    for my own aches and pains are increasing in number and intensity,
    and the pleasure of discussing them is becoming sweeter as the years go by.
    Teach me the glorious lesson that occasionally, I might be mistaken. Keep me reasonably sweet.

    I do not wish to be a saint (Saints are so hard to live with), but a sour old person is the work of the devil.
    Make me thoughtful, but not moody, helpful, but not pushy, independent,
    yet able to accept with graciousness favors that others wish to bestow on me.
    Free me of the notion that simply because I have lived a long time,
    I am wiser than those who have not lived so long.

    I am older, but not necessarily wiser!
    If I do not approve of some of the changes that have taken place in recent years, give me the wisdom to keep my mouth shut.
    GOD, please know that when the end comes,
    I would like to have a friend or two left.

    Best wishes and God bless!
    Osborn Viegas

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