Is ageing a caging?18, Dec, 2016, by Seema Bhatnagar
Looking at self and aged people around gives a vivid picture of how with age our muscles lose their strength and power, bones become fragile, skin becomes lose and sagging, weakening of internal organs and several other bodily deficiencies take place. The mental power also gradually declines and gives way to senility. Overall, an individual feels helpless and life loses its sheen.
With age, the spectrum of possibilities and opportunities gets shrunk and it compels one to settle with limitations and constraints in life. This is not a negative view of life but a stark reality which is visible around us. Instead of shying away from the discomfort of being aged, let’s accept the fact that it is a natural process and each one of us is passing through it.
Ageing is a natural process in which our body is getting degenerated every moment. According to medical research the whole body replaces itself with new cells in every one and a half year. Every moment the body is undergoing some or the other chemical reaction, due to which either something is getting created or destroyed, this whole phenomenon of destruction and creation is called as ageing. As a process, it can be slowed down but it cannot be avoided. As a universal truth or nature’s law - anything which has come into this existence and is living at this moment has to come to an end sooner or later.
Is ageing a caging?
If someone understands the truth of ageing then isn’t it true that ageing is a kind of caging? With every passing day aren’t we simply adapting ourselves to feel settled in this little fragile cage, our body, which one day will collapse anyway?
With advancing age, instead of feeling more liberated, people feel more fearful and constraint in their temperament. Old age insecurity of living alone without kids or life partner, without regular supply of money, dependence on others to carry out personal activities are some of the challenges which age throws upon an individual. Just to ensure not being bogged down by these, half of our life gets spent on preparations to face old age - which means settling down with a life partner, earning enough money and raising kids to get their support.
As a common and more practical perception of ageing - one becomes worthless and no more remains a milking cow. No wonder, people seek infinite ways to somehow hide their age. Even asking somebody’s age is also a kind of taboo. Why do we feel so uncomfortable with age? Marriage also becomes a big problem, especially for an aged woman, ticking of biological clock could be one reason but even after crossing that phase many feel that woman should look young forever. Looking young becomes a lifelong efforts for many.
Why it feels being caged, when we have all the best possible available? A sense of being caged arises only when one has certain aspirations, desires, wishes and goals to achieve in life but due to personal constraints of old age or personal fears these are not fulfilled. At some point, ageing feels like a threat to life and cages a person to an extent that it doesn’t let him/her think beyond self-preservation. Fortunate are those who could liberate themselves from these fears and have decided to explore the depths of life to experience what it means living with the best of personal potential and looking at ageing from altogether a different perspective.
A person who keeps on trying new ways of living and seeks adventures in life takes ageing as a way to explore life in more depth. Somebody who simply lives in a fear of getting old one day and worries about accumulating enough resources, miss the whole opportunity of living life and eventually ends up feeling caged.
My personal experience
With my recent ankle fracture which I nursed for almost 3 weeks (almost whole October, 2016), it helped me to reach a new level of realization. I realized that our bodies are so fragile that even a simple stumble can takes away the juice of life and can make life so limited and dull. Since I was limited to home and felt challenged to undertake even simple activities of life, so I was constantly thinking that living a healthy and independent life is a great blessing. It also made me think, how lifelong handicap could snatch away opportunities in life and how difficult it must have been for old and challenged people in our society to lead a happy life. In my case, since it was a temporary phenomenon so I had a hope of recovering soon but people who are challenged (in whatever way) permanently they have to struggle with life every day.
For all those 3 weeks, my life was limited and I could not think of undertaking outdoor activities which I normally enjoy, like going out and meeting friends and travelling to places of interest. Despite doctor’s advice of taking maximum rest, I continued my physical activities at home, as I do not like somebody attending me for every activity for whole day. Overall, I had a feeling that I am caged and something inside me wants to go out and enjoy. Being a freedom lover, anything which comes in my way of enjoying life, it feels caged.
Looking at the brighter side, this injury took me to a realization that you never know when life would come to a point when you would feel completely caged due to certain circumstances - it might be due to ageing, injury or accident, it is absolutely unpredictable and beyond personal control. This whole experience further concretized my view that I must drop all my fears and inhibitions and explore life with superjet speed. Though I have already dropped many but I still feel more space can be created. As such I am not planning to undertake any new activity but for sure, I am YES to Life, and would love to see myself immersing in new activities and opportunities which would help me to shed the traces of remaining personal inhibitions and fears.
It is said, nothing goes waste or any thought, effort or action doesn’t go waste in this universe, well, how true it feels in my case, a simple injury which otherwise is a kind of painful experience but it has led me to a new level of personal growth and realization. Thanks to higher power for using this injury out of his myriad ways for bestowing wisdom upon me.
Like always, with every breath I am grateful to higher power for showering grace and bestowing upon me a rich and beautiful life. From here, at this point when I have already crossed my mid 40s, my only pray is to receive grace so that I can reach to an ultimate peak of human experience which means the highest possible level of human consciousness. This way, ageing would never be felt as a caging rather a way to celebrate and experience the best possible.
Health of a cage matters.
Ageing should not be a cause of mourning, as for some it is, for them it is definitively nothing lesser than a cage, but for those who have developed a new perspective of living life it has become a fantastic way to explore personal potential at new depths.
Ageing is not a symbol of losing a battle of life rather it is a valuable way to gift personal treasure of experiences, culture and heritage to society. When I say ageing, it doesn’t mean 70 or 80 years, it can be any age, because ageing starts the day we born, so everybody is ageing one behind the other.
On knowing that ageing is certainly inevitable, so to get the best out of it, it is of foremost importance that we keep this body in a well-oiled and efficient state. Our body is the only medium through which we experience the abundance of life, so it must be kept in a perfect balance. The wrong choices of food and thoughts can throw body off balance and hence it invites diseases and a deep sense of being caged.
When it comes to health, people mostly pay more attention to food than over the thoughts that continuously play in mind, it is not wrong but it is fifty percent of the job done. Since mind and body works in unison or to say, they are psychosomatic in nature, so a block in one can affect the functioning of other.
Physical and mental fitness are the two fundamental requirements to keep the health in perfect balance. To achieve this, Yoga and meditation are the only solutions. It is of utmost pride for Indians that Yoga, a science of well-being developed by ancient Indian sages and seers, has been declared as an intangible heritage by UNESCO and also United Nations has declared 21st June as a International day of Yoga last year (2015).
Out of infinite benefits of Yoga, the most relevant to context here is - it slows down the ageing process and makes person more healthy and balanced. In the fast paced and stressful life, if one wants to enjoy the ageing process, practicing Yoga is the only way.
Live life beyond this cage.
Isn’t it logical to conclude - what ageing or uncertainties will do to us and will prevent us from doing certain activities in life, why not to undertake those NOW, why to plan and delay it for old age or tomorrow. Life is so uncertain and short too, so why not to throw away all safety nets and take a plunge to experience life with more exhilaration and zest instead of accumulating for old age. Why not to throw away certain fears and see how you can break through this cage to enjoy life in more depth. On the first instance it sounds a bit threatening but at the same time it gives a deep sense of exhilaration also. You just need to be a bit more thoughtful and courageous to manifest this reality in your life.
As a matter of fact, one has to anyway die ultimately, just imagine, if you have done and experienced everything what all you possibly could then ageing would become a sweet way to cherish those memories and rich experiences and would never feel as a cage. So without a second thought, live life each and every moment fully and never let ageing be a caging for you.