What is Aging?
by Marcus Antebi
Article at a Glance:
What is Aging? by Marcus Antebi
The way that the modern world looks aging does not have any scientific basis. There are many people who are incredibly active, productive, and healthy but well past the ages that we consider to be old. So ‘old’ is a consideration that’s relative to who is judging.
There are two ways to look at aging; one is chronological and the other is biological. Chronological age is defined on the number of years a person is alive. But chronological age has only limited importance in terms of overall health. Of course the older you get, the more likely it is that you might develop a health problem, but this is not just because of your chronological age.
Aging has a lot to do with the duration that any negative lifestyle patterns, diet habits and the environment have to cause disruption to an otherwise vibrant chemistry.
Biological age of course is a reality because we are in fact aging. But you can feel extremely young at 75 depending on several factors. The first one is your attitude, and the next two are your lifestyle and dietary choices. The next is the environment you live in, and, finally, your genes will have some effect on your personal biological aging.
The third way to look at aging is on a psychological basis. If a person gives up on life they could be done at age 40. A person can feel old at 38. Another person who is 90 can be vigorously working and making plans for the next 30 years of the future. They look forward to participating in challenging activities. Their overall attitude is that every moment of life is precious. And they’re constantly working on character development and self-improvement. Such people are psychologically youthful.
There are a number of reasons why some people are like this. Certainly, having that type of thinking in your youth and habitually following that line of thought will likely mean that when you are much older you will be an advanced version of the person you were in your youth, rather than a diminished version of your younger self.
When people think of old age, they think of a person who becomes slowly tired and weak while losing motor functions and memory. Today extensive research in many different fields of science prove beyond doubt that such negative changes result from poor lifestyle choices or from problems that can easily be prevented or overcome.
Rather than focus on the fear of getting older, which is something we do very well in the modern world, we should focus in on the gifts of aging. This is a shift in attitude. A profound gift of aging is the fact that you didn’t die earlier – you’re alive and functional. Perhaps that sounds oversimplified, but if you look at making it to 100 as a blessing and concentrate on the glass being half full rather than half empty, then you won’t have time to get into the anxiety of time passing.
So what is required here to deal with the psychology is to have a profound metaphysical worldview, which of course takes time to develop. Another gift of aging is that as the body is contracting, meaning it’s getting older, the mind and the consciousness can be expanding. This is an opportunity to have a better viewpoint of the nature of reality. This is the reason why many ancient indigenous earth-honoring cultures held their elders in such high regard. Elders possessed great wisdom acquired from their experiences, although their bodies intense impulses were becoming still.
No matter what anyone tells you, the fact is that you can age in a healthy way. The goal in aging is to maintain mobility and live with less pain, without disorders, disease, depression, and other negative events. But this is not just a goal of aging - this is the goal of all adult life.
Certainly it will be more challenging for a person to begin this way of thinking at 73. This is because their habits have become so ingrained. But it’s never too late to start a new way of thinking.
Why do we age in the first place?
In short - The cells in our body have a limited number of total times that they can divide and replace the old ones with new ones. When a cell ages it does not function as well as it did when it was new. The cells of the body make up the tissues of the body, which make up the organs of the body. So, subsequently, the aging cells equal the aging organs, which therefore equals the aging organism, which is you.