From where we sit

Aging: The irony of new year

After all the firecrackers have been lit, after all the food have been eaten, and once all the noises have dissipated, we remember that we now have to turn the pages of our calendars or replace them with new ones. We face another new year filled with unknown challenges and surprises. There is also the realization that, while the year is definitely new, we, on the other hand, have gotten older and fallen prey to the unstoppable hands of time once again. Isn’t it ironic that one of the most accepted symbols of the new year is an infant in a top hat, sash, and diaper? The Baby New Year is an avatar of optimism as the clock ticks down to midnight on December 31. The infant symbolizes on top of everything associated with it humanity’s desire to forever hang on to youthfulness. The reality of it, however, is that every new year we grow older; we age.

For many of us, aging is not a fun fact of life. Slowly, we begin to observe that we are losing touch with the mindset of the younger generation. We may fail to understand their wants, what is hip and not, what certain words in their new slang mean. More than losing touch with the youth, we also slowly become disinterested in looking at the mirror as it shows us an image that we may not particularly like, owing to the presence of lines that were not there just some years ago.

In a desperate attempt to override nature, some of us buy into the latest commercial gimmicks, such as anti-aging creams and soaps with unproven medical claims to make ourselves look younger. I have heard during my younger years that these products sell hope more than anything else. Thus, we buy these products in hopes that they will deliver what they promised. There are even those who use expensive technologies, such as Botox injections, to erase the accumulating crow’s feet on their faces.

Some resort to stem cell therapy, which promises an excellent method to fight various effects and signs of aging. When stem cells are diminished in our body, the number of dying and old cells continues to increase. Stem cell therapy is used to increase the number of stem cells in our body. The most striking thing that many of us share, though, is our utter dislike to mention our true age. It is becoming harder to find people who will gladly tell you their real age. Others believe it is highly unethical to even ask someone about their age.

What we tend to forget is that aging also brings a treasure trove of experiences and wisdom that youth cannot possibly give us. As we get older, our brains become more biologically mature, enabling us to make more reasoned and just decisions that secure us better social connections, establish more productive professional relationships, and open more profitable career and business opportunities. The clumsiness, unnecessary impulsiveness, and fickleness associated with youth and immaturity disappear, making us more reliable people.

Instead of denying the fact of aging, why not accept it wholeheartedly and use it to our advantage? As mature and experienced individuals, we could offer our expertise and advanced skills to the marketplace, and we should be able to gain significant financial advantages. In terms of social relationships, we may not have the freshness of youth, but we can showcase our sharp interpersonal skills to attract the people we need when the situation calls for it. People who admit their age with a smile on their face can also be very charming, because they send a signal that they are confident about themselves and that they have more resources at their disposal than the mere temporary physical advantage of youth.

This new year, let us begin to change our attitude about aging. It does not hurt to keep our bodies strong and healthy, but let us stop refusing to acknowledge our true length of stay here on earth. If you think about it, everyone gets old, so it is virtually an exercise in futility to keep denying how much we have grown.

Be proud of your age. Be proud of what you have achieved. This 2019, let us face the world with a brand new perspective on life and the natural process of growing old.

Happy New Year to all of you! May we be more productive, understanding, loving, happier, and more prosperous this year!

Obet Cruz is a Senior Managing Consultant of Advisory Services. P&A Grant Thornton is one of the leading Audit, Tax, Advisory, and Outsourcing firms in the Philippines, with 21 Partners and over 900 staff members. We’d like to hear from you! Tweet us: @PAGrantThornton, like us on Facebook: P&A Grant Thornton, and email your comments to Obet.cruz@ph.gt.com or pagrantthornton@ph.gt.com. For more information, visit our Website: www.grantthornton.com.ph.

 

As published in The Manila Times, dated 02 January 2019