Rest for the old?

“If youth is wasted on the young then wisdom is wasted on the old”.

Is this true?

Old people have traveled a long way in time, let’s say arbitrarily, “three score and ten” (70) years. Granted, they’ve drifted through at the ambient rate of 1 second per second which is way it took them so long, and why they are, well…old.

Many suffer from TMT. Too much time. There is a Biblical passage which states that “Idle hands are the devil’s workshop…” (Proverbs 16.27. Ironically, men in particular take to performing DIY jobs around the house after retirement, simply to fill up the time they now have for themselves instead of handing it over with their souls to an employer. Those DIY jobs don’t need to be done, save for the provision of a time consuming task.

better with age

Others use their time wisely instead of simply wasting it away. They do the things that they didn’t have the time available to do before. Go on holidays, long walks, (re)start hobbies…some elderly folk say that they have less time available to them in retirement now that they have more time!

So some make better (ambient) time travelers than others. I recently met an 87 year old. He’s a well known scientist and still very much active in both his field of expertise and in his life in general.

On the other hand, my neighbour is barely over 50 but she has convinced herself that the best of her life is over and now wallows in self pity, regret and resentment. She spends her remaining time looking back, and any forward thought is consumed by the frustrated wait for the big end.

With her attitude she hasn’t got one foot in the grave – she’s digging the hole for herself, sticking her head inside and complaining that it’s too bright outside.

Has age turned her bitter or has this negativity come from within?

OK, cheese alert: Life is what you make of it.

“Choices create circumstances; decisions determine your future”. John Croyle

So is wisdom wasted on the old? I don’t think so – wisdom comes through experience, and that comes with time.

Anyway. I think it’s better to think about how we face our future? And how we are when we’re there.

Good luck! 🙂

A joke to finish off with.

A man was walking along a road when he saw an old man sitting on a rocking chair on his porch. Time had left this man heavily wrinkled, with veins throbbing through thin blotchy skin, huge bags under his sunken eyes, thinning hair and gnarled fingers.

Next to the rocking chair was an oxygen tank and a wheelchair.

The walker was impressed that given his terrible condition, the old man had been able to get himself outside to do a spot of reading, instead of remaining indoors where it would undoubtedly have been easier to pass his time. He wandered over and struck up a conversation, passing the time of day. It was difficult to understand the old man’s hoarse flemmy voice, and he kept coughing as he spoke.

“So tell me,” said the walker, “what’s your secret on living a long life?”

The old man leaned forward, and tapped his walking stick on the ground.

“I’ll tell you what it is, but you’d never think so. I smoke 60 a day, drink two bottles of whisky a week and spend most of my spare time glued behind the TV. And drugs. If I can get myself to a dealer then I’ll take whatever he’s got!”

“Blimey!” said the walker, “That’s incredible! And it clearly works! Do you mind if I ask you how old you are?”

“Not at all” said the old man. “I’m 16 next Tuesday.”


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  1. Psychologists (my wife trained as one) have noted that personalities don’t really change much with age. That cranky old-timer used to be a cranky teenager, where as the happy oldster was a happy youngster…

    Not sure if that applies to wisdom in general though…

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