This post is not for everyone. It is simply for anyone who might have, in recent past, looked into the mirror and muttered, “Am I getting old?” The circumstance under which the question had come would surely be different for individuals. For some of you, it could have been a simple self whisper after noticing some gray hair on your head while looking into the mirror. For others, the question might have come after an endless attempt to remember a forgotten fact.
It is quite common for us to associate old age with physical weaknesses of some parts of our body or senses. That’s quite normal. People often become frail on account of age. However, some of those common considerations of the past no longer hold today. For instance, I see so many young people now growing gray hairs, hence going whitish is no longer the exclusive preserve of the aged.
I also see some people who are not yet up to 50 but their physical structure is like that of an Octogenarian! Many people are now aging fast due to a plethora of reasons; mostly economic and societal in nature. At the same time, there are so many old people who are actually looking younger than their true ages.
It is not my intention to go into biological aging process in this post. Rather, I want to introduce you to two factors you may never bother to consider whenever you stand in front of that looking mirror. Yet, they may have certain psychological effects on you if you fail to give them adequate thoughts. As comical as these two factors may be presented to you in this article, you will do yourself a favour by examining them closely.
Let’s start with the first one. Apart from your children (who may still be very young anyway), have you had any recent experience of a grown up lady or guy addressing you as “daddy” or “mummy?” That’s right; it could have been at the church, a party, or even your office. You probably looked at the guy, surveyed his mustached face and wondered, “How could he have addressed me like that? Am I getting old?” Or, maybe it was a lady who is old enough to be married and you wondered, “How could this madam have called me ‘mummy.’” Hmm, that’s the way you perceived it. He or she saw it differently. You felt (and still feel) young within you, but those younger people don’t see you as such. Red light is blinking please…it’s a sign that you are truly getting old!
Is this a problem? In a way, yes, it is.
Well, this new set of younger generation is now seeing you as an “oldie” or “old school.” It doesn’t matter how you see yourself. You may be shocked to notice how uncomfortable they feel when you are in their midst. If you doubt me, you can try it out yourself. Try to mix with them to notice their non-verbal “resentment.”
While it’s okay to get old and fall off a particular age group, I can bet it may become a hard reality for you to accept, because of your willingness to continue to remain young. You want to continue to “belong.” Hey! The quicker you swallow the pill, the better. The moment you notice a particular age group, say 20+, addressing you as “daddy,” “mummy,” or even “uncle,” you must wake up immediately and start behaving like an elder. That title of “daddy,” “mummy,” ’ or “uncle” is your gray hair. Don’t bother looking for any gray hair in the mirror any longer. You are truly getting old.
Now to point two. This is an era of technology. And let me be frank with you, it is a generational issue. No matter how hard the older generation tries, the new generation cannot be beaten when it comes to modern day gadgets. Have you ever stopped to wonder why a 15-year old boy or girl in any part of the world can conveniently handle a Blackberry phone? Did anyone ever gather these young people together to tutor them on how to handle all the gadgets that now flood the markets? No, it is because this new generation of users is born to use technology. They are one and the same with technology!
While you are still trying to figure out how to use iPad or Galaxy Tab effectively, a six year old girl would understand the gadget in and out within a few minutes of handling it. How come? Well, she is young; you are getting old!
In fact, there is a simple test you can try out today. Listen attentively to the way the young generation of people anywhere in the world speaks these days. Listen to the slangs and terms being used. How familiar are you with their common words like BB, BBM, ping back, tag, hashtag, hyperlink, bookmark, hits, blog, peeps, tweets, retweet, plug in, follow, friend, RSS feed, like, unlike, tag cloud etc?
It’s true, you can try to learn their language; but before you finish mastering one, they are already coming up with another set of new terms. You then begin to wonder how they can keep up with the pace and you can’t. Hear the truth: It is not your language; you are getting old.
How, then, do you solve this dilemma?
It is simple. All you need do is to first accept the fact that it is a generational issue. If you then find yourself in the midst of young folks with those tiny cables called earpiece dangling from their ears; don’t be discouraged. Try to learn their language because you don’t have any choice. You are still living and you just have to learn the new language by which to live. You must not also try to be like them; otherwise they will get you lost in the maze of their new world.
In addition, you must be conscious of one very important fact. This new generation of computerized beings can’t see anything wrong in saying directly to your face that you are old. For instance, you shouldn’t be too surprised if one of them suddenly shouts to you that, “No way! Nobody copies out contacts from the phone any longer. That’s simply old fashion. All you need do is Bluetooth everything!” Please don’t get offended. That’s the only way she feels she can talk to you, and she can’t see anything wrong with that.
Of course, there are other ways I can mention here for you to confirm if you are getting old. For instance, what type of music are you comfortable with? Do you know Wizkid, D’banj, 9nice, P Square, Wande Cole, Tiwa Savage, or Banky W? How many of their songs can you conveniently sing? Hahaha! Can you see what I mean? You are getting old!
Still on music, ask the young guys around to sing the songs by KSA, Ebenezer Obey, Oliver de Coque, Bright Chimezie, Dan Maraya of Jos, Kollington Ayinla, Haruna Ishola, or Ayinde Barrister to you. Heeee! They don’t belong to your generation so they won’t know them. You see, you are truly getting old.
Now, don’t say because you want to belong to the youth’s camp and start rehearsing Wizkid’s songs, or begin to imitate 9nice’s dancing steps this evening. The young guys may end up making jest of you.
Ibi gelete la n ba agba o (Elders are found in honourable places, please).
Enjoy your day, and grow old gracefully.