Aging . . .
Growing Old . . . Being an Elder . . . or just elderly!
I gave a short talk a few days ago to a group of young professionals. The venue was at Synergy, a new company in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia that provides entrepreneurial and business development services to SMEs in the Saudi market. Aside from the CEO, who is knocking at the door of 40 years – and quite interested at the prospect, most of the other attendees were in their mid- to later 20s – I think that’s what you call “twenty somethings.”
Note: Synergy is a dynamic new company that will offer unique business development and support services for entrepreneurs, investors and suppliers. The company is set for formal launch on January 1, 2015.
I shared a presentation (click to view the Prezi) with the talk . . . it was only about twenty minutes or so along with questions and lunch . . . a total of a one-hour lunch session. This was my first real use of Prezi. It does have some possibilities in terms of how one can present information. I had originally planned to do an “easy” topic, such as vision building, or something else with some corporate ooh-aah to it, but I thought to share some insights on the “senior” phase of life since I am so much older than most of the attendees for the activity. I’m glad I changed my mind.
The Specter of Age . . .
What really got me was the amount of concern that young people have about growing old. I mean, I am a baby boomer, and we had our youthful aspirations as I was growing up, and aging was far away from the top of the list. But it seems that today’s youth have such an extreme disconnect with aging and life continuity, that it seems almost abnormal. I mean, I suppose it’s normal that during our youth, we become so involved and self-focused that we don’t consider the possibility of growing old, and once we reach around our mid-30s, we then begin to ponder the approach of 40.
What strikes me is that there seems to be somewhat of a disconnect with age as a phenomenon of life. Life itself is about about aging, development and evolving is it not? As a matter of fact, I cited a verse in the Holy Qur’an that mentions the phases of life where humans are born in a state of weakness, then grow into strength and ultimately return to another state of weakness and age, but it doesn’t mention that aging is necessarily a bad thing.
Where does all the wisdom come from in our world? The heritage and passing on of the experience of our generations except through the benefit of the aged who have
their life experiences and lessons to share with the youth. Unfortunately however, our youth have become so mediated by external influences – both useful and not so much – that there doesn’t seem to be time for the elders (and the elderly). And then, all of sudden . . . they are gone and that void of life experience and wisdom can never be refilled.
I’m trying to remember whether growing old was such a fearful proposition when I was younger. But then again, we were more engaged with families, coaches, teachers, and other society and community influences that young people are somewhat detached from today. We didn’t have satellite dishes, internet, smart devices and other digital media to help formulate our views of life and the other living stuff; it was the old fashioned face-to-face communication – whether for encouragement or repudiation – that we dealt with on a day-to-day basis.
Granted, in our youth, we are endowed with virtually limitless energy and the notions that we can conquer the world. At the same time, the capacity to grow older and advance throughout our lives, especially without the additional challenges of failing health, financial burdens and other life concerns, can be considered a blessing and favor of the Creator in providing for us the opportunities to live each day with the hope of doing something amazing.
I am not a visionary; nor do I consider myself an influencer. But I have embraced my age. I am grateful to God that I have progressed – so far – without any major physical, mental or emotional issues, although I could stand to be more active through exercise and fitness. But I have lived a good life, so far, and I expect, with God’s help to live as much as I can and continue to be and do the best I can with every day that I can rise on my own and move forward.
I hope you can too!!! This is definitely NOT the end of this story!!