Old Age vs. Vintage Glory

“Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.” – Mark Twain

Aging may be a natural process but not necessarily the same for all! All living beings age and start to lose their motor skills, their mental capabilities, even equilibrium at times. However, some people age in a very dignified manner and maintain complete control of their mental faculties until they breathe their last.

Majority of these exceptional human beings attribute their good health to a strict regimen of balanced diet, regular exercise, work ethics dictated by punctuality, keeping informed and living worry-free. It might sound easier than actually putting to practice for an ordinary Joe Blow. So long as we are running in a rat race to make both ends meet or have the sword of possible job loss hanging over our heads, it is virtually impossible to live by the above five principles of healthy living.

The challenge lies in our perception. How can we age gracefully like an aged wine that appreciates many times over, as it grows old? Can we age like the precious aged 'Basmati rice' that rises in value each passing year? What is so special in commodities that living creatures do not have? Here is a brief hint:

Wine gains in value due to enhanced aroma, texture, and palatability. Connoisseurs develop an extraordinary capability to differentiate between various vintage flavors, aroma, type of grape/s used as well as their region, and type of casks used in storing the wine. This helps them ascertain its true value. It is not just hard but almost impossible to cheat a seasoned sommelier/wine expert.

The same theory holds true in terms of 'Basmati Rice.' An expert Chef knows the difference between types of rice grown across different regions, their aroma, color and the length of the grain, it’s proper cooking method to achieve the desired results. Long grain rice with a pleasing aroma and a natural sweetness in taste commands much higher esteem when aged in a vacuum-sealed environment away from oxidation and humidity. It helps preserve the grain’s salient features while adding to its value.

Unfortunately, we humans do not come with any handling instructions that could help increase our value as we age. So, what are we supposed to do in order to age with grace, dignity, and poise? How can we expect to command equal respect from our offspring, like a vintage wine?

Let us examine some possible strategies. I say possibly because there are no guarantees. However, I can say this with absolute certainty that the level of elderly comforts will certainly see a major improvement when one applies them with care:

  • Appreciate each family member’s right to privacy, education, career, lifestyle, food habits etc.

  • Adopt the role of the humble soil that binds the roots of a tree and provides nourishment

  • Do not interfere in others’ affairs unless asked for, even then, in a specific measure only

  • Offer help as a guide/mentor or even better, as a friend, without any expectation

  • Protect your family and offer support to your friends wherever possible

  • Never impose yourself on anyone unless it is a do-or-die situation

  • Never differentiate, nor engage in any partisan behavior

  • Treat everyone with respect whether young or old

  • Give encouragement, not discourage the young

  • Remember: what goes around comes around!

In the event you yourself in a situation where your aging process is taking a turn for the worst, please do yourself a favor, hold your breath and take a pause. Go to the above curtain raiser and see if you could make use of any of the above guidelines to retrace your steps.

At times, saying sorry can help unlock many a difficult door and open numerous channels of positive communication. When in doubt, an unqualified apology works wonders. It does not mean, by the longest shot, that you are admitting guilt for some wrong you never committed. Such a gesture will only help increase your EQ (Emotional Quotient) exponentially.

Saying sorry can help unlock many difficult doors and open numerous channels of positive communication.

What makes me say that you may ask?

My answer is simple: sooner or later, the truth will come out. When that happens, and the problem is resolved, your offer to mend the situation will score the winning goal. It is not just important for the aging member of the family to feel respected but also keep earning it at all times. You can only do it by respecting others’ rights and keeping your own expectations in check.

To age gracefully, like a vintage wine, give space and gain respect, offer guidance but refrain from forcing your decision on others, communicate with compassion and not aggression, provide for and protect the young ones with compassion, composure, and comfort.

Try It, Who Knows you Might Like It

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