The Definition of “Being Old”

When is it that one becomes old? What is the definition of “old age”? One may assume that it is natural for a woman at my age to start pondering over such matters ;-)

I am 48 years old….almost 50……almost 60! So here we are – what else is there to deal with but the question of “have I already arrived into the kingdom of being old”?

Well, actually, the question formed itself only after the answer appeared unexpectedly - dancing in front of my eyes on a beautiful sunny cold day, a one-hour train ride away from Amsterdam.

I was sitting in a little café in a small town called Arnem, watching people moving soundlessly in the beautiful classic European court. Once, I even asked Pepe (who was sitting next to me) to turn up the volume as I couldn’t hear anything! Pepe was laughing, saying the volume is on its maximum! Dutch cities and towns are very quiet, or maybe I am getting old and am unable to hear anymore. ;-)

In that moment, while sitting in the café, I was dipping into contentment and bliss for being in an utter state of “being”. I was thinking about the unknown possibilities that my day, my week, and my life are holding for me. I was wondering with excitement about all the moments I hadn’t met yet – moments that may unfold into mastery, growth, exploring and joy.

I was thinking about all the experiences that were waiting to be added to my life collection, all the people I was going to meet, watch, interact with and wonder at.

I was thinking about all the great thoughts that were going to accompany me and take me to places, depth, and discovery that no other vehicle or even wings would ever take me to.

I was excited to move into my next adventure no matter how big, small, dramatic, or subtle it would be. There are no dull moments. Having a good cup of coffee in an unknown place, teaching, writing, laughing, manifesting unique realities, or having a great salad, it is all to unfold and be experienced.

This is when I realized that we become old when we lose the ability to see all the possibilities that can turn into new moments. We become old when growth and discovery are not part of our being anymore, when creativity dies, when the excitement of being is fading out, when we lose the enthusiasm or the ability to change ourselves for better if desired.

In other words, when falling rain becomes just another rain, this is the moment we become old.

The reason why we call young people ‘young’ is because their possibilities are still in full potential. As people are going through life, they feel that more and more doors are closing around them, stopping them from accessing what used to be available as potential possibilities. As the doors shut (in our perception), they block us from wandering around into the mystery and the unknown until one day we find ourselves walking on a narrow, one-way path, moving in one predictable direction. This is where internal aging starts.



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