Ageing is an inevitable part of life. Every second that ticks away is telling us we are a second older than before. Although some people are blessed enough to age gracefully, ageing is more often than not, not pretty. We try to slow the process as much as possible with vigorous dieting and exercise and others go to the extreme by subjecting themselves to surgical procedures just so they look a decade younger. But as much as puberty is inevitable no matter how delayed, so is ageing.
It is amazing how much quickly we wish to grow when we are young so we can live the ‘adult’ life-independent and free and yet wish that time would slow down when we pass the 50th anniversary. Then we try to live like we are in our thirties with the hope that the ageing process would halt and wait for us to enjoy life a little bit longer. Life indeed is too short, isn’t it?
What does physical ageing do to us? Grey hair, weakened muscles and joints, poor eyesight and hearing, allergies to previously enjoyed food, weakened immune system, you name it. Some require tolerable lifestyle changes to be made; others can make living barely bearable. Looking forward to it? I doubt it.
What does mental ageing even mean? It could be defined as the decline in certain mental functions. Unsettling, huh? It’s not all that scary as some functions like vocabulary, some numerical skills and general knowledge would remain intact. But it’s the discomfort of the decline of some aspects of memory, information processing speed, reasoning, multitasking among others is what makes ageing a not-anticipated part of our lifetime.
So what do you find more uncomfortable, not able to walk effortlessly as you used to or not able to remember what you’ve been told within a few minutes? Having to depend on others for movement or conversation would be awkward but I find having to lose the speed to process information or to keep memories more disheartening. What’s the point of living if I feel like I’m losing sense of myself?
Although both are inevitable to an extent, if I were to choose one, I’d choose to rather never mentally age. As much as I wish I could always feel this strong and healthy in my body, I prefer to have a strong mind in a weak body than a weak mind in a strong body. After all, being brain-dead is synonymous to being actually dead, right? Nah, I don’t want that.
What about you? What kind of ageing would you wish you never have to experience and why? Kindly share your thoughts.
© Josephine Amoako 2016