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Growing Old Stinks


57 years on planet earth is no small feat; it is a monumental achievement, one that ought to be celebrated. 

Yes, I admit, that is how long I have lived in this world, sharing in its trials and tribulations and in its joy and sadness.

Growing old is a natural progression of life, an integral part of who we are as humans; indeed it is a contemplative period when the issue of mortality looms large. Frightening and depressing, old age is a realm of life we would rather avoid.But can we?

The longer we live, the tell-tale signs of aging become all the morevisible;  the deeply lined face, the double chin, the sagging stomach, the thinning hair line sprinkled with a coating of gray, or replaced completely with a bald pate and the all too familiar rickety wobble. 

For the first four decades of my life, growing old never really weighed heavily on my mind, I never gave it a flicker of a thought; honestly, it just wasn’t on my radar screen.

Perhaps out of wilful ignorance or rank hypocrisy, I viewed the aging process as an abstract, a non-reality,an oddity that is better left alone, cast aside, or better yet, completelyrelegated to the remote recesses of the mind.

Growing age, as I realized to my chagrin, is intrusive and stealthily; it is a slow, gradual process that has creptinto my life, eating away at my physical and mentalabilities.

Before long, my youth exuberance has disappeared, my energy level considerably diminished and the gaiety that once defined my youth suddenly screeched to a halt and my voracious sexual appetite dramatically reduced.

To be honest, I am frightened of growing old.  I watched my parents grow old with a mixture of dread and sorrow. My father who had served in the Ghana army for nearly 30 years, in his old age shrank from an imposing physical specimen to a shriveled old, wobbly man, eventually succumbing to an unknown disease.

My mother, though still alive, is a pale shadow of her once robust self. Her stunning beauty is long gone, replaced by a leathery face that still exudes happiness despite the difficulties of walking, eating and hearing.

Growing old is akin to exploring the unknown. It is a dark and daunting journey.Some questions do inevitably arise; would I stumble into something that could be disastrous or rewarding? Will I spend the rest of mylife warding off age-related ailments that have the potential to do me in (kill me) and what about enjoying the simple pleasures of life, will that become a hurdle?

I have begun to grudgingly accept the harsh realities of old age; growing old is not a death sentence. It is a time in our lives when we sit back and reflect on the things we did with our time on earth.

Growing old shouldn’t necessarily be a grueling journey; it should instead be a respite from the daily grind that characterized the earlier periods of our lives.



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