When I think of aging, I think of my grandparents. They are old, retired, vacationers, wise, stubborn, strong-willed, move slower, nap often, funny, loving, and many other things. My grandparents are my prime example of aging. They are the oldest people that I am around most often. My ideas of aging are likely heavily influenced by these important figures in my life. But I also look towards the media to form my ideas of aging.
My basic idea of aging has to do with the passage of time and accumulation of wisdom. I think of aging as a process. It happens as time passes and includes physical changes. When someone is wrinkly and begins not to be so nimble, I tend to see them as aging. I often equate the words aging and old. Many times, I use chronological years to determine whether a person is aging or old, but I think what most significantly determines who is old to me is the amount of wisdom someone acquires. For example, I do not think of myself as old, but when I see someone my age that has more experiences and insight, they seem older to me.
There are many symbols and celebrations of aging in our culture: a child first learns to walk, starts speaking, loses a baby tooth, starts school, learns to drive, graduates, moves away, gets married, has children, retires. A person’s aging is also signified with each birthday that passes.
There are many positive and negative aspects of aging. As someone grows, they can be more independent and have the capability to choose what they want to do. I think that this can be fun and great in the sense that someone can determine for themselves how they would like to live and experience the world. But this also comes with personal responsibilities and stress. When someone can determine how they want to live, they must also take into consideration how their actions might impact others and become more responsible for what they choose to do.
Being old also comes with many positives and negatives. I hope that when I am old, I will have experienced many different things in my life and feel satisfied with what I have accomplished and the relationships I have built. I think it would be a great time to reflect on myself and my choices and who I am. I could think less about what I will do and stress and struggle less to achieve and accomplish new things. I could take the time to further build close relationships with my family and to teach younger generations from my life experiences. It would be an interesting time to see how the world and people progress as time passes. It would also be a scary time. Things continue to change but I become less able to adapt and slowly find it harder to take care of myself. But it would be interesting to see the world and people from an old person’s perspective. I would be in less of a hurry and might have new insights and appreciate things I was not able to before.
I think my beliefs about aging are quite typical for many in my culture. People often think about becoming old and less physically capable along with gaining wisdom and sharing knowledge. This is often seen in movies and stories. The mentor or wise character is typically older, sometimes has a long, white beard and often has many life experiences to share. These are my current ideas and feelings about aging, but I believe they will also continue to change and develop as I become older.