With this changing world around us; everyone has different feelings and thoughts about getting older. Some people are afraid to get older while others anticipate it. The select few might even try to delay the process by having surgical procedures done to have their body appear to be younger. In these next couple pages I am about to discuss the answers from interviews I preformed. All of the questions were geared towards the aging process and the person’s feelings about growing older. I asked 5 different cohorts (1) the same exact questions. The grouping of the ages was as follows: 1 person from each cohort ? age 6-15, I chose 11 year old girl Kayla; age 16-25, I chose 20 year old Tara; age 26-40, I chose 27 year old Vanessa; age 41-65, I chose 52 year old Jack; and age 65 and older, and I chose 82 year old Douglas.
When I examined what they thought was the best thing about aging I found that 3 out of the 5 people (Kayla, Tara, and Vanessa) stated an answer that defined overcoming some certain type of restriction that was either put against them or had no choice in the matter like being done with school and staying up later at night, as well as being able to retire. The other 2 cohorts (John and Douglas) had stated things that were to be gained as they grew older such as maturing and gaining wisdom and knowledge.
The preceding question had asked what age they thought was old. This was interesting because as the person got older, the age at which they considered someone old got increasingly higher. You might laugh at this answer, but 11 year old Kayla responded with the answer of 33 years old. Whereas, 20 Tara stated 60 years of age and up. John stated 90 years old because he was already 52 and figured by the time he’s 90 he’ll have lived most of his life and be ready to accept death. And the answer that I enjoyed the most came from Douglas. He responded with a huge grin on his face saying,»It is not the number or the physical appearance of a person that categorizes them as old, its their love, joy and vigor for life that defines it.» Simply, you are only as old as you feel. Answers to this question I felt were stated very quickly and easily. The people just looked ahead into their lives and chose an age that was 20-50 years older than them.
I then asked a series of questions that dealt with joys, fears, and the good and bad things about aging. When responding to the joys and good things about aging again 3 out of 5 (Kayla, Tara, and Kim) had stated overcoming restrictions in their lives. But John and Douglas had stated positives that had already happened in their lives such as having and raising children and grandchildren along with the ability to watch them grow, mature, gain their own independence, and even begin to start a whole new family of their own.
I feel that most people below the age of around 40 go through their lives sometimes not truly appreciating the positives, but looking forward to becoming released from restrictions. I do believe the older a person gets, the wiser they become, not only from gaining knowledge as they travel down the road of life, but gaining experience and the sense to know, realize and truly appreciate how their cards of life had been dealt in front of them.
When responding to the fears and bad things about the aging process the answers varied considerably. The group had had dreaded dying, your body wearing down (2), their health status (3), as well as needing long term care (4) and nursing homes (5).
Everyone knows about the biological process of aging. Typically, without using technical terms that not everyone is used to, most if not all people know that when you get older you gain wrinkles and your hair color slowly fades to white or grey. Though people know that everyone has to go through this process, some easier than others, we still fear and loathe this process. I believe that part of the international feeling of dread about getting older is brought on from the environmental press (6). Women are portrayed as being anorexically skinny, and men as being strong and muscular and young. Instead of people embracing their age and loving the body they were given, they feel that they have to change it to what the culture deems ?a beautiful body.’
With the next question I surprisingly received a unanimous answer from each of the 5 people. Everyone responded to the question, what age is death acceptable, with a spiritual answer. As stated by Tara,» Everyone dies for a reason. It’s acceptable to die whenever God calls you and is ready to take you.» Everyone had replied with an answer similar to Tara’s.
The next question was enjoyable to listen to their responses. The question was, ?what age would you like to live at forever;’ Lindsey responded with the answer of 16 because she was able to drive, Tara and Vanessa both responded with the age of 21 because she could drink and she was still in college with no responsibilities, John said 40 because he still possessed his full intellect and his body was still capable of playing a sport, and last but not least Douglas, his answer was not an age or a time. Douglas’s response was touching. He said that he would not want to be an age forever, that he had enjoyed his life at every age thus far and couldn’t’ pick an age to live forever because there has been so many joys in his life that have had different significance to him. After thinking about his answer, I too felt that with my optimism for life and what it still has to offer me, that I too will say the same thing when I am his age.
Lastly I will conclude with a question that asked about who and what would be most influential in how they aged. The who part was almost unanimous. Everyone said that their family, friends, peers, and mate’s would have the most effect on how they aged. The what part was interesting too because everyone had replied that their diet, amount of exercise, and how they lived their life would influence their aging process the most.
So, in conclusion, through asking a variety of people these 9 questions, I not only learned a lot about the people themselves, but a lot about my own outlook on life as well as how and what I should work and strive to accomplish to live a long and happy life.