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What it's like to be really old knowing that death is imminent

February 12, 2015, 7:46 pm | This story has an Influence Score of 1721

By @mariocantin

Written by Stan Hayward -- originally posted on Quora.com

I am really old, and I know death is imminent

Most of my friends have passed away, and of those remaining, they suffer from health problems in some way

I am myself totally deaf and partially blind. I live by myself


I am writing this at 6am in the morning

Today, if the weather is fine

I will go for a walk

I will chat with friends

I will do my shopping

I will do my laundry

I will feed the cat

I will tidy up what needs to be done

I will put out the garbage


I will do what most people do who are not really old and know that death is imminent

Because there is no feeling of being old


There is a feeling that you can't do what you used to do

There is a feeling that you might lose your independence, or if you already have, a feeling that you should try and do as much as you can by yourselfThere is a feeling that you should spend as much time as possible with those you like to be with


There is a feeling that time is precious. Of course it always was, but one becomes more aware of it

There is a feeling that many things one does will be done for the last time


There are passing thoughts about those who respect you because you are old, and about those that dismiss you because you are old


There is the aspect that life is changing fast with all the new advances that inundate us daily

There is the aspect of life that nothing changes


Mothers still smile at their babies

Children are still enthralled with their first pet

Learning to ride a bike is still as much fun as starting a company

Blowing out your birthday candles is still as satisfying at eighty as it was at eight


It is not that death is imminent that is important, but that when the curtain comes down, the audience leaves with a sense of satisfaction

As someone once said

The World is a stage

You played your part for what it was worth

You take your bowand leave



I am surprised at the number of responses this answer has received, and in particular from young people concerned about getting old


I am 84. My generation is probably the last generation to get old in the usual sense of 'getting old'


My predicted life expectancy is 81.5 years so I am already living on borrowed time

But 1 in 4 people will live past 100, and the first person to live to 150 is alive now. It may be me



But living for a long while is not the same as getting old

The normal image for an old person is



Loss of faculties

Becoming dependent on others

Being out of touch with the world

Constant illness


Being house bound

Not being able to contribute to society


Losing close friends

Living in the past

Finding young people impatient

Not being catered for in the world generally


But perhaps the worst thing is being viewed as old


I used to practice judo, but I don't now. That's because I haven't practised for many years. But age is not the problem. Here is someone teaching it well past 100



I used to play guitar in a band. I don't now. But I could if I wanted to. There are plenty of professional musicians of my age and older who do. Les Paul was still playing at 90


I used to go scuba diving. I don't now. But I could. My friend Reg Vallintine was teaching into his 80's and is still active in the field



I used to be a sailor, but I am not now, though I could be



It is not age that prevents one doing these things, providing ones health is OK, but ones priorities with the time available

I am a writer. I have published two books this year, and have others with publishers. I have nine websites and blog, and write daily on Quora


I have a friend who at 78 met his old sweetheart of sixty years ago at college. She was a great grandmother, now a widow. He had never married. They fell in love again and married. He says he has never been happier


I have a friend of 81 who out of loneliness took up dancing a year ago. He is now training to be a dance teacher and courting a dance teacher half his age


I have a lady friend of 76 who dates guys on the internet and then dumps them as frequently as any twenty year old


Most of my friends of my generation are fully active.

They always were fifty or sixty years ago when I first knew them. It was because of their positive attitude to life that we became friends in the first place


Why you will never grow old

With the internet etc. you will never be lonely in the traditional sense

With the many advances in medical appliances and related fields you will be able to care for yourself well into old age, or will allow others to care for you much easier than now


With home surveillance and the internet of things, you will be largely self-dependent, secure, and in touch with those you need be


As a matter of course you will become more aware of your needs to eat well, be active, and generally take care of yourself


Your work will be less stressful than the past, and you will work shorter hours. There will be more activities for you to participate in and more social events for you to join


In all, though you will get old you will not be old.


You will die when your time comes, but you will not be forgotten because your life will be digitally immortalised


Be thankful that your great, great, great, great, grandchildren will be able to know you, and that you live on in their genes.


Source: www.quora.com. Link: http://www.quora.com/What-does-it-feel-like-to-be-really-old-knowing-that-death-is-imminent

Republished with permission, as per Quora's Terms of Service, under the subsection titled, "Quora's Licenses to You".

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