"GROW OLD WITH ME. THE BEST IS YET TO BE." – Robert Browning
There are many super seniors in the community who are busy in literature and other pursuits. Mr. Khushi Ram from Nakodar wrote his biography ' Servitude to Freedom' at 91. His message: 'Find Your Identity'. Man Kaur 102-year old runner from Chandigarh, India won gold medal at American Masters Game in Vancouver last year and in Auckland, New Zealand this year. At the top of all, Sardar Fauja Singh, 106 years is a British Sikh centenarian marathon runner of Punjabi Indian descent.
By Zile Singh
Ambassador, India (Retd.)
Every body wants to live a long life. But nobody wants to be old. In August, I will be turning seventy. Certainly my experience is that to be seventy years young is sometimes far more cheerful and hopeful than to be forty years old.
When would you say old age begins? Is it a number, a feeling, a set of habits or an attitude? The idea of old age used to be calibrated around retirement age, the age around which the so-called productive work ended. Some time back, according to a study most people defined old age as 68. However, a study conducted in Britain in 2014 revealed that old age really does not begin until 80. For many, retirement is the start of a whole new chapter and pensioners are traveling the world, taking up new hobbies and leading a more active and exciting lifestyles than when they were younger.
Although there are no general agreement on the age at which a person becomes old, most developed countries have accepted the age of 65 years as a definition of 'elderly' or a senior citizen. . However, it does not apply to many developing and under-developed nations in Asia and Africa. In India, for example, the age to be a senior citizen or the age of superannuation is 60 years. In African countries the old age is between 50 and 60 years. At the moment , the United Nations has agreed 60 plus years to refer to the older population depending on the setting, the region and the country.
Famous philosopher Rebert Frost wrote: “ In three words I can sum up everything I have learned about life : IT GOES ON…..
Signs of old age: You fall asleep watching TV or reading the paper, become forgetful, groan when getting up out of bed, choose clothes for comfort rather than style, repeat yourself, people offer you a seat on public transport, low tolerance for teenagers, forget where your glasses are, get a haircut to suit your age etc.
Society can sustain, maintain and prosper only when all the components of society, including the elderly and the children are taken care of. For want of care of the elders, the society will disintegrate with unhealthy outcome. In all the religions, there are practices to remember and respect the forefathers and ancestors while they are in heavenly abode. It will be worthwhile if we give the elderly their due when they are alive and when they need your help and respect. We know that man is an emotional being. The elderly not necessarily need financial help, but mostly they need emotional support.
We should be proud of and respectful to our parents and elders.
“Parents be treated holier than any scripture.
Who taught walk and talk to newborn creature.” – self
According to Albert Einstein, “ The true sign of intelligence is not knowledge but imagination.” So, I invite our seniors and super-seniors to “ Be introspective and philosophical; It hurts to be more orthodox and mechanical.”- self
The secret to getting what you want from life is understanding that what you do right now. People are doing extraordinary things all the time. There is no reason you cannot be one of them. Some motivational and inspirational facts:
At 71, Katsusuke Yanagisawa, a retired Japanese school teacher became the oldest person to climb Mt. Everest.
At 74, Ferdinand Marie de Lessep began an attempt to construct the Suez Canal.
At 75, Barbara Hillary, a cancer survivor became one of the oldest person to reach the North Pole.
At 80, Christine Brown climbed the Great Wall of China.
At 84, Somerset Maugham wrote “Points of View”
At 85, Theodor Mommsen became the oldest person to receive a Nobel Prize in Literature.
At 89, Arthur Rubinstein performed one of his greatest recitals in Carnegie Hall.
At 91, Allan Stewart completed a Bachelor of Law degree from the University of New England.
At 92, Paul Spangler finished his 14th Marathon.
At 93, P.G. Wodehouse worked on his 97th novel, was Knighted.
At 96, Harry Bernstein published his first book “ The Invisible Wall”.
At 99, Teiichi Igarashi climbed Mt. Fuji.
At 100, Frank Schearer was the oldest water skier.
There are also many super seniors in the global Indian community who are busy in literature and other pursuits. Mr. Khushi Ram from Nakodar wrote his biography ' Servitude to Freedom' at 91. His message: 'Find Your Identity'.
Man Kaur 102-year old runner from Chandigarh, India won gold medal at American Masters Game in Vancouver last year and in Auckland, New Zealand this year. She started her running career at the age of 93. “ She always stays positive and keeps busy.”
At the top of all, Sardar Fauja Singh, 106 years is a British Sikh centenarian marathon runner of Punjabi Indian descent. He is a living legend. According to him: “There are two noble things in life- one to do charity and other to look after your body.”
Zile Singh is a former Ambassador(Retd.) of India and a Vipassana Meditator. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org .