Age Is Just A Number: High Fives To My Young Fellow Seniors!

As the saying goes ‘age is just a number’, and in some cases it is high and in other cases low. The number doesn’t necessarily have something significant to do with the mind associated inevitably with it. If we go further from year to days the numbers become even more like simple numbers. Like when we say 10 years it seems to be a very long time—a decade as you’d normally like to refer to; but if we break it in number of days it’s just 3650 days or less. However, high numbers do signify body ageing which is biological and cannot be avoided, and unfortunately, ageing is taken by others with ‘low numbers’ in a negative way. The moment people cross the number 60 they are called ‘old guys’, and when someone dies in the range between 75 and above the others say that ‘the old guy has lived enough’. Lifestyle immoderation and inherited or accidentally acquired diseases do make the process of ageing faster and painful in some. But in any case, the mind can still play a vital role.


The mind cannot age unless you acquire diseases like the Alzheimer’s or dementia which fortunately can be prevented by the sheer energy of your mind, spirit and brain activity. The forces of the mind and enthusiastic attitudes can help you even while having terminal diseases. God forbid, if you keep on giving in to the negative thoughts and actions these send open invitations to all kinds of diseases. They should never think that once they have retired from their regular job, they have become old. Therefore, it is the strong mind with an equally strong willpower that converts age into just numbers. We keep on sleeping every day and wake up the next day with the same kind of thoughts or resolves or plans. Just how could your mind change or age overnight? Yes, it’s only the days or years that gets added to your ‘number’. If you want, you can keep your mind always numberless or ever young, and that’s what matters to all senior citizens, so called because they have higher ‘numbers’.


I have been privileged to be a member of a local club of senior citizens where most of them have numbers the range 65 to 70 with some of them approaching 75 or even 80. And I’ve been pleasantly surprised to find that for them age is exactly a number. They have young minds and an indomitable spirit. Most of them go for morning and evening walks, eventually joining each other at the club premises, unfailingly every single day. They chat cheerfully for about an hour in the evening, at times enjoying steaming cups of tea or coffee, and then go back to their families—some with sons, daughters-in-law and grandchildren while others live with their spouses. They are digitally literate and always engage themselves in the social media and groups with gusto. They are very kind-hearted and organize charity too as needed. We cannot avoid the unfortunate fact that many of the people with higher numbers have to maintain large families with meagre pension and a nagging financial insecurity.  


Occasionally, they organize get-togethers on someone’s birthday or anniversary or state/national events or at times without any reason, just for the fun of it. And, I’ve seen the tremendous enthusiasm and hyperactivity in going about organizing such events, moving around on scooters or cars or bicycles or auto-rickshaws; this reminds me of the innocent fun we had as children when organizing similar events or unions, and also in various stages of our varying ‘numbers’. There is always absolute celebration at the events or parties where everyone is forced to present a song or something through the loud speaker. One of two of them are actually good professional singers. Yes, mind is necessarily young; you only need to keep it so. In effect, we are always children—the children of God! High fives to us! And cheers!


Naturally then, when we’re referred to as ‘old folks’ we righteously get angry as happened recently with me. A very good friend of many years took my consent one day for an assignment in a forthcoming international event and asked for my updated bio. As I never say no to either tea or work, I went ahead with the proceedings. Around 10 days elapsed with no information from him and I thought perhaps he could not get it approved from the highest authority. Then, suddenly a call came from his organization offering me a job that forms only a miniscule part of the assignment offered earlier. Sensing the inevitable I said an assertive no.


Late evening that day the old friend called me, and then I came to know of the ‘reasons’ for not approving my assignment. Maybe the assignment was pre-decided in favor of someone with low ‘numbers’ or the younger smarter generation, and the discussion about my candidature a mere formality. Two of my earlier friends/associates of the organization convinced their supreme boss that since I am in ‘old age’ and I live far off from that office it might not be advisable to give me the job. The reference of the ‘old age’ infuriated me while I dismissed the second reason as a decoy, totally irrelevant as regards the assignment, and showed my anger in public, but deciding to move on.


That ‘telephone syndrome’ in fact energized me. For some time in the past few weeks, I’ve been in a dilemma about continuing with my writing work as I thought perhaps I had no ‘reading’ readers. A few days back I took a painful decision to stop my writing. But those telephone calls, and of course, a few very kind comments in social media from experienced author-friends/associates, made me reverse my decision instantly. True to myself I have decided to go on working till the last days of life, not allowing the ever-present external factors to be deterrents. Yes, I’m sticking to my basic nature irrespective of the increasing numbers getting added to me. My mind is ever-young like my senior citizen friends and by the grace of God I still have a reliably mobile body. Cheers for that too!


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