HOW TO AVOID THE FEAR OF AGEING

  In my post published on this site on the 7th October, 2016 titled ‘’HOW TO OVERCOME YOUR PHOBIAS’’, I listed 19 phobias and showed how to overcome them. But that was a superficial narrative.

Today I have chosen to write more extensively on gerascophobia because it is very relevant to you as you grow older.

I learn a lot by observing things, lifestyles and movements as well as human behavior and weather patterns; things that can be learned simply by observing nature rather than those that take 20 or more years of research to know.

I have made the following observation, among others:

AGE IS SECRET NUMBER

In my part of the world people do not want others to know of their age. Age is a secret number which must not be uncovered. I have seen and heard people wish others happy birthdays but have never heard ages mentioned. Those who celebrate their birthdays never mention their ages to people. Even at birthday parties it is just ‘’happy birthday to you’’ and never ‘’happy birthday to you on your 25th birthday anniversary.’’  Birthday wishes sent via the radio remain the same. Always the number is missing out.

abstract colorful happy birthday card vector illustration

People never mention their real age. This is very common among those seeking for jobs and especially among footballers. There is something they call football age; that is under-declared age.

Have you ever watched a tournament of the FIFA under 17 World Cup? In the past you could see some bearded young men of 21 and above presenting themselves as teenagers of 17 years or less to play for their countries. This led the FIFA to later take stern measures against this bad practice.

                                                    FIFA under 17 World Cup team

I read the profile of a friend on Facebook. He had quoted some ridiculous date as his date of birth. I laughed whilst reading it and told myself that he only had to fill the space with something but not to show his real date. It was not a matter of not knowing the actual date; he just won’t state the correct one.

People do not want others to know how young or old they are. They simply fear being found to be old.

If there was a natural way people could cut down their ages more people would have preferred to do that and stay alive forever.

WOMEN’S MAKEUP

Between men and women, the latter like to look young forever. But in actual fact they look older than men with whom they have the same age. That is why they always wear a makeup to cover what I don’t even know, may be wrinkles? The purpose of all the makeup is to look younger and beautiful, simply that. In fact my observations also lead me to believe that some women do not have beauty without a makeup.

Closeup portrait of a woman applying dry cosmetic tonal foundation on the face using makeup brush.

It has been admitted on www.broccolify.com that even the most attractive women use a little of makeup though nothing can be better than natural beauty. It’s only that contemporary girls have gone crazy about makeup.

Some celebrities and rich women do not like their natural faces and where makeup cannot cover the facial skin to give it the face lift they desire, they will go to the extent of changing the facial look through plastic surgery. Unfortunately not all plastic surgeries turn out beautiful faces. The face could turn out to be like that of a cat. I have ever seen a human being with the face of a cat on the internet. It wasn’t a photo-shop manipulation but the real face of a woman.

FEAR OF BEING CALLED OLD LADY

I remember an incident that took place a couple of years back. A friend and I were walking behind a middle-aged woman when we came upon two teenagers playing ball on a road. Then one boy told the other to stop playing to allow the old lady to pass.

Upon hearing old lady the woman turned furiously against the boy and rained insults on him for calling her old lady. She asked the boy if she was the one who borne his mother.

My friend and I were surprised at the behavior of the woman and immediately formed an opinion about elderly women which I am sharing with you today.

                                                              A middle-aged woman

Being referred to as old lady hurt her because she thought she was far from being an old lady. She enjoyed being young and detested any connection with being old. Looking at her, from our point of view, the boy was right in calling her so.

PSYCHOLOGICAL FEAR

If you did not read my post referred to above you may not know the sickness called gerascophobia. The heading of this post has already explained it. It is the fear of growing old; the fear of ageing, a psychological and not an actual medical condition.

All my above observations attest to the fact that some people dread growing old and will do whatever they can to avoid it.

But is it reasonable to entertain the fear of ageing?

When you hide your real age and continue to be in a government office as a worker, you delay your retirement age, thereby frustrating the younger ones from getting employed to replace you. You also feel weaker for your declared age.

This time the demand for birth certificates is a requirement for many jobs to avoid the declaration of football age.

It is worthy to note that dying is part of life cycle. You can die at anytime whilst you are young. If not, you will grow old and then, die. If you fail to accept this fact you will always run away from your real age, an age which you have genuinely grown to reach.

Let nature follow its natural course to bring equilibrium in the universe.

It is a worthless venture trying to expand your life span even if that is possible. It is a wasteful and meaningless effort that rather adds stress to your ability to accept ageing. Nature has already programmed everything into your system. After a certain number of years your cells stop replacing themselves. When replacement ceases you are dead and can’t do anything about it.

VIEW FROM A DIFFERENT PERSPECTIVE

Let me view the situation from the perspective of the gerascophobics. May be their societies do not respect aged persons, or frown upon them or look down upon them as a bore to the societies.

How does your society treat their aged? Bad treatment and disrespect from the youth could be a big factor for running away from your age if you’re one of them. This creates a negative view of ageing in a society where the focus is on only the youth. No homes to care for the aged? No funds from authorities to support them financially and health wise? Looks like a curse to grow to an old age?

In such a society gerascophobics may be right in fearing their own age.

GUANS

Let me take you to a society which holds their aged in high esteem. Among the Guans in the eastern region of Ghana, the elderly are accorded due respect. A home without an old man or woman is not fully regarded as a home where the youth get good advice and good training.

Old age is a blessing to the family. The aged people advice the youth to be respectful and courteous. They are a source of the youth’s inspiration.

On the other hand if a parent grows old her children request her to be taken home to be cared for where they come in turns to care for the aged parent who no longer works. They try to provide all the necessities required to look after the old person.

When death comes they are given a fitting burial.

There are a few private homes for the aged in Ghana. According to the Proprietor of a private nursing care home for the aged on the Spintex Road in Accra, majority of the aged are abandoned by their relatives.

Several factors may be responsible for this state of affairs but I am not writing about that now.

In spite of the above it’s only good to be your natural self at your natural age. The football age will put pressure on you when you need to retire but can’t.

In spite of all the difficulties associated, there is dignity in growing old.

FOUND! SECRETS FOR GROWING OLDER

I have found some secrets for growing older. Living in a botanical environment free of dirt and dust, pollution and noise is an ideal environment for growing older as have contributed greatly to the ageing of a 101 year old man, who is still going strong.

                     A mountainous landscape

The old man who lives in a mountainous village in the Akuapem Central District in the eastern region of Ghana, and did not want to be identified told me in a conversation that the above, coupled with the consumption of fresh vegetables and fruits have contributed greatly to his good health and are the secrets for his old age.

         Vegetables and fruits

STORY FROM ISRAEL

I was told a similar story by a Ghanaian journalist who traveled to Israel in or around the year 2010. He had the opportunity to travel to a rural area in Israel and learnt that the residents of the area lived mainly on fruits and special vegetables. They did not consume meat of any kind or drank alcohol. He learnt that by that lifestyle, for the previous 40 years there had been no death in the area.

Upon much thought about my old man’s story which I have collaborated to that of the media man, I have concluded that the two stories have some things in common and can conveniently form the basis of my post for today. I have therefore chosen to share these secrets with you today.

Not all people live in mountainous areas or on flat plains or in forest areas or in temperate zones. People are born in different places on this earth and where one is born is normally where one is brought up and usually lives.

There are also people who are born somewhere but live the rest of their lives somewhere else due to a variety of reasons.

People migrate to find jobs and it is not just for the pleasure of travelling, no. It is due to the location of industries and availability of jobs.

Immigrants travelling to find jobs

No country in the world has an even distribution of industries across its length and breadth, so a lot of people migrate from their countryside to cities where most industries are sited in search of jobs to earn a living. This factor makes cities more populated and bring with it accompanying problems.

THE NEED TO WORK

Of course one cannot live all his life at one location. You can’t remain up the mountains all the while if you are the grandson of the old man. It could be a bore so travelling is good.

Travelling makes you see what other places look like and how other people live their lives. Some travel across continents to seek greener pastures and learn great lessons from their travelling experiences. Others come from more advanced countries to the less advanced for the purpose of working or learning about different cultures and exotic things.

So whilst you are young you must find work to do. Whether you have to travel or not you have to work and it’s going to take you some 40 -50 years of hard work before you have some rest.

                             You must work

During these 50 or so years you will pass through most of the city’s negative experiences if you live your working life in one of the cities around the world. You know, not all cities are nice and clean.

 

                                         Modern city

NEGATIVE EXPERIENCES

What do I call negative experiences?

They are the disadvantages that come with living in the city like:

  • Breathing polluted air. Exhaust fumes from vehicle engines, industrial waste and scent from filthy gutters and garbage dumps all add up to pollute the air. Those who work close to motorways and main lorry roads are much at risk as they inhale small amounts of carbon monoxide daily.

To make some reference on this issue there were two separate incidents of death in Ghana in 2016 in connection with the breathing of polluted air. Both cases involved electric generators which were switched on in enclosed spaces where people slept, and breathing the fumes emitted by the machines resulted in the death of a total of 5 persons in two different nights.

  • Crime ridden. You can fall a victim to the activities of pickpockets or thieves or armed robbers at one point in your life.
  • Too much traffic. There is nothing more frustrating than having to be at a place at a scheduled time and be held up in traffic that moves at a snail pace. It adds to stress.
  • Too much noise. There is too much noise in the cities that disturbs your eardrums and subsequently your peace of mind.
  • Overcrowding. Due to influx of migrants and other visitors cities are always overcrowded.
  • City residents are unhelpful. They lack personal relationship with others. Each one is busily struggling for survival and there’s no time to stop and look at a neighbor. In some places one may not attend a social function of his next door neighbor.
  • By their nature cities are deficient in natural features. Open spaces are often encroached upon, especially in African cities.

                      Kintampo Waterfalls, Ghana

 

POSITIVE SIDE

 

Cities have very strong positive sides that make residents proud of living in them but I am not going to enumerate them. Most residents are used to the luxuries of city life that any change like the one I am proposing is mere nonsense to them. But those who want to grow older must pay attention to my sensible nonsense.

NEW PHASE OF LIFE

After having passed through a lot of the above negative sides, when you go on retirement it is better to change your place of residence so that you enter an entirely new phase of life with the hope of growing older.

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                      Enjoying retirement

From my conversation with the old man coupled with my remembrance of the Israeli story I have made the following recommendations for your consideration, whether you are young or old because the young shall grow too.

  • RELOCATE TO THE COUNTRYSIDE

After spending about 40-50 years working in the city or elsewhere you must go on retirement and relocate to the countryside. The city is too noisy.

The reason is to get out of the hustle and bustle of city life and get a more serene environment to continue your life.

                                    A rural area

Build your house and live in an environment which has more of plants and trees, or just plant a lot of flowering plants around your house. By a process called photosynthesis plant leaves use sunlight to carry out a chemical reaction using carbon dioxide from the atmosphere (to manufacture plant food) and in the end produce enough oxygen back into the same atmosphere.

So when you are in such environment you have pure oxygen to breathe to heal every ailment that lurks around in your system. I hope you know that in hospitals special oxygen is administered to some patients who go into coma, or whose condition are critical, to help revive them.

By the photosynthesis process, carbon dioxide is used up thus purifying the air around and you breathe good, fresh air capable of prolonging your life.

Have you ever taken a stroll in any area with plenty of trees? Did you notice the coolness and freshness of the atmosphere, especially those of you in the tropics? There are some plants which emit sweet scent form their leaves or flowers to the surrounding atmosphere. That produces a sweet air and a refreshing environment that is irresistible to leave behind.

                    Aburi Botanical Gardens, Ghana

If you have never had this experience, try it for yourself. You can travel to the Aburi Botanical Gardens or the Bunso Arboretum both in the Eastern Region of Ghana to have this unique experience.  Botanical gardens are maintained at other places around the world.

  • EAT MORE FRUITS AND VEGETABLES

Most of our sicknesses come from the food we eat. When we eat the wrong kinds of food the result is sickness. I learnt this from a Pathologist when he was advising people about health issues and factors that accelerate death, on a radio program and have kept it in my coconut ever since.

I remember he cautioned about consumption of oily and junk foods that had no vitamins in them.

My old man rarely got sick. That means he wasn’t eating any wrong foods to fall sick. He said he ate lots of fruits and vegetables. I don’t know how he prepared them but that was not my cup of tea.

                                         Fruits

I am not a dietician and can’t give guidelines on what types of food to eat or what ones to avoid eating at this instant. All that I am interested in telling you now is to take a cue from my old man to avoid eating junk food and remember to eat lots of fresh vegetables and fruits. They possess a lot of vitamins needed by the body for its maintenance and defense systems.

Older persons (60 and above) have to be mindful of their diet because of subtle changes in their bodies.

City residents may not have access to fresh green leaves due to transportation and delivery delays but it may not always be so. Same day deliveries from farms are possible.

CONCLUSION

I conclude this post by repeating the 2 things which I have mentioned all along and termed as secrets because people have a penchant to know what secrets are.

  • Live in a house with plenty of plants around it. If there are no plants, plant plants.
  • Eat lots of fruits and vegetables and avoid junk foods that will get you sick.

These shall help you to grow older with strength and vitality. Those who don’t know must learn from those who know.