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.

Published by

Ebenezer Awuah

Ebenezer Awuah is a Diploma holder in Business Management and Administration from the Institute of Commercial Management [ICM] of UK. A former banker, now working as Administrator for Progressive Transport Owners Association [PROTOA-Ghana]. Formerly writing for P&P and Top Story, social newspapers in Ghana.