I think sometimes the elderly are trapped in a life that they were taught was the only and correct way to act or live but one that didn’t always make them happy. I’m not talking about all elderly of course but I feel there are a lot of seniors especially women who were held back or trapped from being the best they could be because of certain supposed old traditions or the rules of society.
My mother is a great example of not living her life 100%. However, I believe my young brother’s suicide nine years ago made my mom realize that she was not truly living. She always had the need to have the house super clean or to be cooking or washing clothes rather than relaxing and enjoy herself. I believe society made many women feel guilty about taking time for themselves. I was happy when she joined a support system at her local church. She started making new friends, she started taking walks, she joined the Hispanic Senior Center, she started to enjoy a glass of wine or beer as before she didn’t because she was taught it wasn’t ladylike to do so. At home, she started to play her music a bit louder and started not to worry so much about insignificant house chores. Today my mom is 73 and continues to surprise us. Just recently she has learned to better use her cell phone and also learned to use social media and that is huge as she is illiterate. I feel this is important as it helps keep her entertained and truly helps with things such as depression among other things like aches and pains.
So how to avoid staying trapped and start enjoying life no matter what age or circumstance is important. If I would have to sum it up all in two words, I would have to say it would be the words balance & purpose. If you work too much you are off-balance if you party too much you are off-balance. And If you don’t’ have a purpose you will do what makes others happy and not be happy yourself. I also feel that many of the diseases or ailments that the elderly suffer can be lessened by making sure they are staying active, & exercising. Doing things like meditation, yoga, joining a volunteer group, going on walks, or doing things they might have always wanted to do but were scared to do like zip-lining, traveling to another country could really help them. Of course, their doctor should be consulted first. But this could make them feel alive and we all need to feel alive no matter what age we are.
Everyone in life needs a purpose, once you lose your purpose you slowly start to die inside. I think there are many people dead many years before they are physically dead. If you can call an elderly person today and help them feel alive and remind them about a balanced life and let them know it’s never too late to find their gift and use it. And remind them to never forget that they are still alive for a reason, old doesn’t mean dead.
Rosa Julia Parra