Ageing with Dignity and Dynamism: Embracing Changes

“Don’t let ageing get you down. It’s too hard to get back up.” - John Wagner 

Author : Dr Shalini Yadav 

Writer, Editor & Professor, Jaipur 

As humans, we are all going to age, and it’s something that is inevitable. Many people associate ageing with negative thoughts and feelings, such as a loss of youthfulness or a decrease in physical abilities. However, ageing should not be kept a parameter for categorization or treated as a sort of pigeonhole or a label, can also bring positive changes and opportunities that we might not have had earlier in life. Ageing with grace and zing is about embracing the process of getting older and making the most of the experiences that come with it rather than tending to lose our zeal to live life to the fullest. Though many of elderly people in our surroundings tend to get more complacent and comfortable with life; however, that is not the case with many more such exemplary spirits who are inspirational for all and sundry. 

Ageing is a natural process, and it is essential that we embrace it gracefully. However, the societal norms and expectations make it even more challenging for women to age with dignity and dynamism. Women are often judged based on their appearance, and societal pressures force them to hide their age or even go through cosmetic procedures to maintain their youth. But, nowadays many Indian women crossing or already crossed the borderline of fifty refuse to conform to these norms. These evangelist women are an exquisite example of ageing with grace, dignity, and positivity, indulging in various activities and dealing with several other issues.

Embracing their age and continuing to live their lives to the fullest, these women exude confidence and happiness. They have not let age hold them back and are indulging in various activities like outdoor sports, travelling, writing, dancing, trekking, learning new skills, and engaging themselves in social work. Here are few examples of such women. Beena Sarwar is a journalist, artist, media trainer and documentary film maker. She runs Sapan News Network to anchor in the higher goal of ensuring peace and solidarity in South Asia, bringing many journalists and writers at the platform from several countries.

Yasmin Sait is an author who has three decades of experience in retail and entertainment industry, embarked on a journey at this phase of life as an author writing her first book 'Manan' which is a torchbearer for exploring selves. Her smiling and bubbly face gives energy to many youngsters and direction to delve deeper into their own selves. Lines of the novel 'Winter' by a Scottish author, Ali Smith “you never stop being yourself on the inside, whatever age people think you are by looking at you from the outside,” ipso facto fits here on Yasmin’s personality when she has crossed the boundary line of sixty and the kind of lesson for finding life purpose, she yearns and exerts to deliver and proffer through the journeys of nine such fifty-five plus women from different fields and professions and their anecdotes which she has craftily woven in her book Manan for inspiring many more lives.

Yasmin talks about the relevance of her book Manan "for women, who go through myriad of changes, biological, emotional, economic and in role plays during their journey of life." Though we all know that women have to face several issues in their lives from childhood till the end of their subsistence including hormonal changes, inception of menstruation cycle, motherhood and it's responsibilities. 

Moreover, women have to dealt with other issues like menopause, health issues, and societal perceptions. Menopause is a biological process that happens to every woman, and it is often looked down upon, but many women including social workers, academicians and doctors are spreading awareness about menopause, self-care, and the importance of seeking medical help and support in this phase of life.

The women also deal with health issues that come with age, such as arthritis, diabetes, and osteoporosis, with support from family and friends. They are taking precautions to maintain a healthy and active lifestyle to keep these health issues at bay. They are also proactive in seeking medical help and advice to manage their health issues.

Another issue that 50 plus Indian women are dealing with is societal perceptions. Society often perceives ageing women as someone who is past their prime, and their opinions and contributions are not valued. However, these women are breaking stereotypes and showing that age is just a number. They are actively engaging in social work, contributing to society, and giving back to the community. To add, Yasmin says that positive reinforcement and transformation while ageing is something which is possible only when "such exercises are periodically carried out, at each crossroad of life" like indulging yourself in fruitful hobbies or social activities keeping your mental and physical health at priority are inculcated timely.

Ageing with grace and activeness is about embracing the changes that come with getting older and making the most of what life has to offer. This means focusing on physical, social, and emotional wellbeing, and embracing new experiences and opportunities. By keeping an open mind and maintaining a positive outlook, we can age with grace and dynamism, and enjoy a rich and fulfilling life at any age.

The zeal and enthusiasm of a 67 years old retired government school lecturer from Rajasthan, Smt. Santosh Kumari is extraordinarily exuberant. In a conversation with her, she shared her worries that the youth of the nation is ironically indulged in the wrong usage of electronic devices and social media which is injurious for their physical and mental growth. She gives a message for the youth to keep on doing 'Karma' without being halted and to be ebullient, impassioned and effervescent to fulfill their lives' goals.

Another name to quote, Neeru Saini from Chandigarh is a fitness-freak, motivator, traveler, trekker, biker, dancer, and science teacher. Watching her dance videos and lively shots of the trekking spirit on instagram where she dances with 3/4 of her age boys and mesmerizes with her performances at the age of 58. It reminds the lines of a hindi poem-

उम्र को हराना है तो शौक जिंदा रखिए,

घुटने चले न चले, मन उड़ता परिंदा रखिए।

बुढ़ापा तो आता है एक उम्र के बाद सभी को,

जिंदगी को हमेशा हर तरह से जिंदा रखिए।।

Therefore, these illustrative Indian women are a role model for everyone on how to age with grace, positivity, and dignity. They are showing that age is just a number, and it is never too late to learn new skills, travel, engage in social work, and maintain an active lifestyle. These women are breaking stereotypes and societal perceptions, and they are an inspiration to all and directly or indirectly teach us what to do when you grow old. 

Staying active is one of the key elements of ageing with elegance and strength hence physical activity can help with maintaining strength and flexibility in the body, and can also contribute to mental wellbeing. Engaging in exercise and other physical activities can have a significant impact on reducing the risk of developing certain health conditiosns, such as heart disease or diabetes. In addition to physical activity, it's important to maintain a healthy and balanced diet. Eating a nutrient-rich diet that is high in fruits, vegetables, and lean proteins can help support a healthy body.

Another essential part of ageing gracefully and dynamically is maintaining social connections. Maintaining relationships with friends and family members can provide emotional support and prevent feelings of loneliness or isolation. Socializing can come in many forms, such as joining a club or organization, volunteering in the community, or attending regular social events.

Another way to approach ageing with grace and dynamism is to embrace new experiences and opportunities. As we get older, we may have more time and resources to pursue interests or passions that we didn't have the ability to pursue earlier in life. Exploring your curiosity and trying new things can provide a sense of purpose and joy in life.

Finally, when it comes to ageing with grace and dynamism, it's important to understand that it's not just about physical health but emotional and mental health as well. Maintaining a positive mindset, engaging in activities that bring joy, and taking time to self-reflect can help maintain a healthy emotional state. Mindfulness practices, such as meditation or deep breathing, can help reduce feelings of stress and anxiety.

Thus, according to American author and cartoonist, Clarence Day Jr. “Age should not have its face lifted, but it should rather teach the world to admire wrinkles as the etchings of experience and the firm line of character.” (The author has his own study and views)