HOW ONE SHOULD LEAD LIFE AFTER 65 PLUS?
HIGHLIGHTS OF THE VIEWS OF SENIOR CITIZENS
Nandini Voice For The Deprived , a Chennai based NGO (www.nandinivoice.org) organized All India essay competition for senior citizens on “How one should lead life after 65 plus “
There have been overwhelming response for the competition from senior citizens from all over India
While longevity in life has improved in India due to advancement in medical sciences, life has become stressful for senior citizens due to various reasons.
Long back, there was the practice of senior citizens spending their time in meditation and introspection after their retirement from active life. However, the ideas have changed now. It is thought that one should remain active as long as possible irrespective of age. But, should the senior citizens be pre occupied in the business of earning money and remaining in the rat race all the time? Are there not better options of serving the society and the needy or observing the life process from distance in detached manner and introspect deeply about the purpose of life? What is the right course for senior citizens; whether they should continue to be involved in worldly pursuits or indulge in philosophical thoughts as to where one come from and where one would go?.
The objective of the essay competition is to provide an opportunity to senior citizens to give their considered views on the subject.
The essays submitted by the following senior citizens were selected for the award of prize.
* Mr.V.Rajagopal ,Chennai - I prize
* Mr.V.Rajaraman, Chennai - II prize
* Mr.H.N.Subrahmanya , Goa - III prize
* Mr.Syed Rauf Hussain, Hyderabad - IV prize
* Mrs.Manimegalai Ganesan, Chennai - V prize .
Highlights of views and observations of the senior citizens are provided in this article.
It is time for introspection
Life after 65 plus is a transition period in one’s life and it should be viewed as the time for introspection, for studying the pattern and conditions in society in a dispassionate manner.
Simply eating and enjoying the life with all possible sense pleasures is not the best way of leading life after 65 plus.
It is necessary to search for a meaning for all human activities. One of the great advantages of retirement is the extended leisure time, when one can introspect leisurely and this period should be utilized well.
Continue active life
Even as one would introspect, life after 65 need not be the typical Vanaprastha stage,(renunciation of worldly pleasures) which Indian ancestors envisioned and when the elderly persons remained withdrawn and isolated. On the other hand, it could be very productive and enjoyable. As Chevalier said, growing old is not so bad when you consider the alternative.
The 2nd verse of Isa Vasya Upanishad (Indian philosopy) says that in this world, one should desire to live 100 years and perform actions everyday . Everyone must use his / her body as an instrument to work and through work create beauty, wealth and welfare outside and moral and spiritual values within.
After 65 plus, one need not withdraw from activities .On the other hand, one should become even more active by being involved in positive pursuits, that would be moral, ethical and would serve the cause of the society, particularly the under privileged.
Let there be a feeling of `Acceptance’
While one should retrospect and at the same time remain active, the big question after 65 plus is to how to be reasonably happy with the loss of importance, with that loneliness, with those aches & pains and with those financial constraints in some cases , The answer in one word is ACCEPTANCE.
The cornerstone of a happy retired life lies in the cognitive adoption of acceptance. One should perceive things differently after 65 plus with positive attitude.
Let us recall the prayer of the philosopher Reinhold Niebuhr. This is one advice we should remember every day as we brush our teeth or clean our dentures. “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can and wisdom to know the difference”.
It would be wonderful to watch the shadow of evening lengthen around, if there would be matured attitude of acceptance. It will take the person in a direction leading to the joy of giving and the blossoming of higher values such as love, kindness, compassion, tolerance, forgiveness and altruism.
In the Bhagavad Gita, (Indian philosophy) Lord Krishna assures Arjuna. “Our mind has the propensity to be our dearest friend as well as our worst enemy. Therefore, why not utilize it to uplift ourselves out of material darkness and get into spiritual light?” .
Let the fire be rekindled
After 65, one is entering a different phase of life. It is as if one is starting the life with a clean slate all over again, with the added strength of over 60 years’ experience of life.
After 65, one have the knowledge of peaks and sloughs of life, its problems and solutions and the strategies and methods to manage them. This knowledge should be utilized to rekindle the fire within and lead life of wisdom.
Danger of unplanned entry into 65 plus
As someone said, the tragedy of life is that we get old too soon and become wise too late.
Any unplanned entry into senior citizenship is likely to cause immense stress even if one is entitled to a pension after quitting formal employment.
The preparation for post 65 years, therefore, should start at least 10 years in advance, both by way of planning and steady development of mind set of acceptance and wisdom.
Pleasure of living in family / company
First and foremost, the aged should not suffer loneliness or solitary confinement but should strive to find company within their age group.
The life after 65 need to be lived in one’s family atmosphere whether it is with the parents who may be in advanced age themselves or in the proximity of one’s children. Or at least in a social circle friendly to one’s temperament.
The emotional bondage and health that such an atmosphere creates and which is essential for the life will not be achievable in any other setting.
Shared joys are doubled, shared sorrows are halved, shared hurts are healed. Mutual love and respect extend one’s life and enable living with acceptance and enthusiasm to lead active life.
Fear not death
Life is a comedy of errors and it is much ado about nothing . It struts and frets signifying nothing. So living shorter period or longer period brings one to nothing.
There is no need to fear death, Death is a great leveler. It is the cure for all issues . Think that in death we start a new journey. It is the ultimate adventure in life.
This awareness, a realization that we are spiritual beings experiencing human life and the realization of human limitations will go a long way in overcoming the fear of death.
Circumstances may bring about isolation, immobility or other challenges to be faced by some senior citizens. It is up to the individual to manage lives with dexterity and make optimal use of life.
Living by clinging on to the past achievements and glories and refusing to see the present reality are major contributory factors for isolation and harbouring a feeling of neglect and in extreme cases even leading to depression.
Some with balding heads may feel happy with less hair to comb, but some may worry about washing a long face resulting out of receding hair line.
You are as young as your faith, as old as your doubt, as young as your self-confidence, as old as your fear and as young as your hope.
Nandini Voice For The Deprived
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