The Elder Paradox

“As I am now, you soon shall be.”

A timeless quote about our brief existence… If old people wandering through the streets like lost souls makes you sad, shouldn´t you be even sadder that one day that lost soul might be you?

That one day, you might stumble upon what used to be blessing… but is now a curse. That instead of being respected, admired, looked after, when you get old your mere existence becomes a burden. A burden to society. A burden to your family. A burden fewer, fewer people are willing to carry.

Vincent Van Gogh - 1890

Something that moves, but can barely see. Something that talks, but is barely heard. Something that feels, but barely feels living. Growing old is truly is a burden to the human spirit…  A burden that no man should have to carry alone.

Like expensive cellphones, elders used to be revered because they were scarce. And much like the Motorolla Razor, once elders started showing up everywhere, people lost interest in them. Are we that shallow?

Mankind made leap forward in the field of medicine this last century.  A huge leap. A leap that hasn´t yet landed.  A leap that doubles the average life of a human being and fills up ours streets with elders. Aren´t we going to take resposibility for the consequences of our actions?

Pointless... isn´t it?

An elder with no loved ones… is like a pilgrim trapped in a paradox staircase. He can walk all he want, but he won´t get anywhere. His soul is trapped in the building or street of yesterday. And so time passes and nothing happens… until one day the soul sits down. Sits down tired of roaming pointlessly about. Sits down to watch the river of time and no longer swim. And so time passes… and now all he wants to do is remain underwater.

Grim… yes. True as well. For millions of elders nowadays life is just that… an uphill routine that only finds rest over the edge. Ideally, the community should be the one taking care of them. Take care of them by incorporating elder care in their social work; promote everyday citizens to share a couple of hours a week with these lost souls.

But since we are not in ideal world, it´s really our duty… no, our obligation as family members to take care of them. If you are not big with helping strangers, then at least focus on your own elderly relatives. Make sure they feel loved, not lost…. Make sure they feel at home, even if they live in retirement.

All this came to my mind

As I watched that old man with sunglasses. Watched him cross the street and nearly get run over by a frenzied car. Saw him jerk in fright from the honks and screams of a maniac. Sat with him at the bus station. And after a full minute of trying, watched how he couldn´t even read his own watch.

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4 Comments

Filed under Culture

4 responses to “The Elder Paradox

  1. Great Post.

    Call me an old soul, but some of the best conversations I’ve ever had have been with elderly people. The best conversations I have are with a good friend of mine who happens to be 60+ years older than me. Im 22.

    Over dinner with some friends last week they told us an amazing story. The previous owner of their sailboat happened to be a man who was diagnosed with a deadly disease, he was given only a few months to live. It was only then when the man decided to actually “live” his remaining days and he set of on a voyage sailing around the world which lasted for seven years. That man “lived” more those seven years than most of us will ever “live” in our lifetime

    Its easy to forget, or ignore, that we are all diagnosed with a deadly disease the day we re born. Mortality. This is not a curse, but reality. Im not afraid of aging, but I am afraid of getting to be an old lady with regrets. So Today Im creating memories so that tomorrow, when Im old and wrinkly, I can smile remembering the good old days.

  2. Mayte

    Un salud… Por esas viejas almas que nos llenan de inspiracon y desbordan sabiduria !!!!!!!

  3. Carlo

    Bellissimo!! bravo alfredo

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