Ageing and Feeling Young


Third long weekend in four weeks in Malaysia. For someone used to long hours at work, it looked like this was a real slow down in pace. To the staff and kids, it was a real relaxation, a time out. To me, with all the stress and pace of the last few weeks and after trips to India, Indonesia,Cambodia and Vietnam, I was relieved not to be travelling this long weekend. All the kids of my nephews’ and nieces are under strict instructions to call me only Uncle not grandpa. The rationale is that I am still young and I will await the arrival of my kids’ children.

Ishaaniey, the youngest one and nephew Arasu’s daughter, is the one who had the privilege to call me Grandpa today. It was nice to spend time with her. Ishaaniey is a darling who kind of mocked and teased me every time she called me grandpa and had me running around her in stitches despite my hypertension. Was I nervous about being called grandpa?

Was I vain or thinking too much about getting old? After all, I have accepted getting old is getting wiser and I have consciously never done anything to look younger, even colouring my grey hair. After all, I waited all this long for my hair to get grey. So why this thought. Looked up the article by Professor Rebecca from the University of Massachusetts Amherst in Psychology Today.

I could only manage a smile as Ishaaniey mocked me again enjoying every time she called me grandpa. Professor Rebecca asks a simple question – have you ever lied about your age in the downward direction or been upset when someone mentioned your age to others. Of course. I remember the day when I was upset when my daughter got me a cinema ticket at Senior Citizen price (recently, not long ago). I also remember the day when I was uncomfortable when a colleague said – lets ask the old man. Not long ago I was the youngest in the room and I still feel very young.

Professor Rebecca says propensities to play down our biological age reflect a deep psychological truth. As we age, we often do not feel as old as the years indicated on the calendar. She validated my thought that feeling younger than one’s biological age is a sign of health and predicts lower mortality, positive expectations, and better cognitive abilities. Thus, feeling younger means doing better. Unsure if my family agrees with this thought but I felt good reading that.

And, more importantly, I discarded whatever I had to do for the day. Ishaaniey, was the focus of my day. As my Professor Annette says if only we knew grandkids were so good, we would have been nicer to their parents. Needless to say, when her parents came to take her away, I was disappointed. As much as she teased me, calling me grandpa and had me running after her, I really wished I could spend more time with her.