Coping with growing old

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binocular
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Re: Coping with growing old

Post by binocular » Tue May 21, 2019 4:29 pm

No_Mind wrote:
Tue May 21, 2019 4:22 pm
In subtle ways society has begun to tell me (and everyone else my age .. born towards end of Vietnam War) that we are no longer needed, our needs and aspirations (human needs .. emotional needs) no longer matter.

It is extremely difficult to come to terms with being cast aside by society.
You live in India, of all places, one of the countries in the world with an extremely brutal caste system and social segregation.
And you only began to notice these issues now?
Every person we save is one less zombie to fight. -- World War Z

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No_Mind
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Re: Coping with growing old

Post by No_Mind » Tue May 21, 2019 4:38 pm

binocular wrote:
Tue May 21, 2019 4:29 pm
No_Mind wrote:
Tue May 21, 2019 4:22 pm
In subtle ways society has begun to tell me (and everyone else my age .. born towards end of Vietnam War) that we are no longer needed, our needs and aspirations (human needs .. emotional needs) no longer matter.

It is extremely difficult to come to terms with being cast aside by society.
You live in India, of all places, one of the countries in the world with an extremely brutal caste system and social segregation.
And you only began to notice these issues now?
Gee not again! Not my Hindu birth! I thought we were past that.

And .. are you saying because I am an upper caste Hindu with benefit of western education .. I should therefore feel what I am feeling?

That whites and upper castes Hindus have no right to feel angst or sense of despondency?

That is a really uncommon and uncomfortable conclusion to reach.

:namaste:
I know one thing: that I know nothing

binocular
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Re: Coping with growing old

Post by binocular » Tue May 21, 2019 4:49 pm

No_Mind wrote:
Tue May 21, 2019 4:38 pm
Gee not again! Not my Hindu birth! I thought we were past that.

And .. are you saying because I am an upper caste Hindu with benefit of western education .. I should therefore feel what I am feeling?

That whites and upper castes Hindus have no right to feel angst or sense of despondency?

That is a really uncommon and uncomfortable conclusion to reach.
It's not my conclusion.

I'm just surprised that someone born and living in India would not think of issues of different types of segregation (by caste, race, age) from early on. Since issues of segregation are so obvious in a country like India, I would have thought that people born and living there have all come to terms with those issues from early on. So that they would never say things like, "In subtle ways society has begun to tell me (and everyone else my age .. born towards end of Vietnam War) that we are no longer needed, our needs and aspirations (human needs .. emotional needs) no longer matter." -- but would have known that for as long as they can remember.
Every person we save is one less zombie to fight. -- World War Z

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No_Mind
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Re: Coping with growing old

Post by No_Mind » Tue May 21, 2019 5:01 pm

binocular wrote:
Tue May 21, 2019 4:49 pm
No_Mind wrote:
Tue May 21, 2019 4:38 pm
Gee not again! Not my Hindu birth! I thought we were past that.

And .. are you saying because I am an upper caste Hindu with benefit of western education .. I should therefore feel what I am feeling?

That whites and upper castes Hindus have no right to feel angst or sense of despondency?

That is a really uncommon and uncomfortable conclusion to reach.
It's not my conclusion.

I'm just surprised that someone born and living in India would not think of issues of different types of segregation (by caste, race, age) from early on. Since issues of segregation are so obvious in a country like India, I would have thought that people born and living there have all come to terms with those issues from early on. So that they would never say things like, "In subtle ways society has begun to tell me (and everyone else my age .. born towards end of Vietnam War) that we are no longer needed, our needs and aspirations (human needs .. emotional needs) no longer matter." -- but would have known that for as long as they can remember.
I really don't want this post to get sidetracked. So I will state it once and not respond further on this issue.

We are a federation of 29 different countries. In my country there is no issue. In some countries there are.

I care less like everyone else in my country if the guy sitting next to me is a low caste person.

My doctor is a poor Muslim chap who married the daughter of a pious but liberal Brahmin.

Not one more word from me about my Hindu birth.

:namaste:
I know one thing: that I know nothing

binocular
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Re: Coping with growing old

Post by binocular » Tue May 21, 2019 5:56 pm

No_Mind wrote:
Tue May 21, 2019 5:01 pm
I care less like everyone else in my country if the guy sitting next to me is a low caste person.
And it never occured to you that you could become that low caste person?
That you could become someone who needs to make sure that even his shadow doesn't fall on a higher caste person?

I mean, where I come from, there is a didactic theme in the culture that if one isn't going to be careful and diligent, one will end up poor, drunk, lowly. The existence of lowly people is taken as a cue to reflect that one could end up like them if one doesn't take precautions against that.
Every person we save is one less zombie to fight. -- World War Z

santa100
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Re: Coping with growing old

Post by santa100 » Tue May 21, 2019 6:02 pm

No_Mind wrote:It all came to a head last weekend when I visited a casual dining restaurant with my niece, and the piped music was a song by a young girl named Ariana Grande (my niece said), and suddenly I remembered a similar dining experience about 20 years back and the song that was playing was one of my favorites "You Don't Bring Me Flowers" followed by "Sweet Caroline".
Here's some sad truth and yet it might bring you some comfort to know that the dukkha of aging is a universal thing. Ageism is very much alive and well in western industrialized countries. Older adults would have a much tougher time to find jobs after being laid off than younger ones. In some respect, humans are just like batteries. And corporations will always pick younger workers over older ones due to simple practical and functional purposes: younger and newer batteries give more power, service hour, and longer shelf life. They're also tend to be cheaper to get! So, that's just the way it is, the nature of birth, aging, sickness, and death, just like the Buddha taught. Also notice that in 20-30 years time, your young niece and her favorite singer Ariana Grande will be in the exact same spot as you are right now. Who wouldn't? It's not something one can control. And if it's not, there's no reason to feel bad about. It's just another example of: Joy At Last To Know There Is No Happiness In The World

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Aloka
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Re: Coping with growing old

Post by Aloka » Tue May 21, 2019 8:04 pm

No_Mind wrote:
Tue May 21, 2019 7:19 am
Last nine months has been rather topsy-turvy for me. A lot of changes, a lot of suffering, a lot of samsara.

No matter how Dhammic and strong and stoical one is, it does leave an enduring mark as one goes through darkness stumbling at every footstep, never knowing what the next day will bring.

A proud and take no prisoners kind of person I have become calm but not without a deep sense of melancholia about life and what it really means.

It has also made me sentimental .. something I never was.

It all came to a head last weekend when I visited a casual dining restaurant with my niece, and the piped music was a song by a young girl named Ariana Grande (my niece said), and suddenly I remembered a similar dining experience about 20 years back and the song that was playing was one of my favorites "You Don't Bring Me Flowers" followed by "Sweet Caroline".

And I felt so terribly lonely. It is not the loneliness that goes away if one is among lots of friends and relatives. It is a disconnect .. a realization that one is too old .. that everyone sitting there considers Game of Thrones to be the greatest thing since the wheel was invented and no one .. not one person there has seen "The Godfather" or "The Man Who Knew Too Much."

How can I use Dhamma to get past this .. and grow old with no anguish? I don't mean the physical deterioration but the distance from the rest of the world.

:namaste:

No_Mind
Don't take people's entertainment likes and dislikes so seriously, not everyone is interested in "Game of Thrones"!

I've never seen a complete episode but I watched bits of it on YouTube to see what all the fuss was about and my opinion was that the dragons were ok - but otherwise it was full of gratuitous sex and violence which didn't interest me in the slightest. However, some of the films I watched myself when I was younger I consider to be trashy too!

Most people get worried about old age at some time or another, but life is as it is. Maybe you could do some voluntary work which keeps you in touch with other people of all ages, rather than feeling distanced from them, and then perhaps you would find more similarities than differences?

Doing sitting or walking meditation out of doors rather than in an enclosed indoor area can also be good for calming and relaxing the mind.

With metta,

Aloka :anjali:

Justsit
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Re: Coping with growing old

Post by Justsit » Tue May 21, 2019 10:14 pm

The Coming of Wisdom with Time

THOUGH leaves are many, the root is one;
Through all the lying days of my youth
I swayed my leaves and flowers in the sun;
Now I may wither into the truth.

- William Butler Yeats

This poem never meant much to me until I reached my 60's. Now I find it comforting; older age brings fruition as well as melancholy. Withering into the truth - a quite beautiful image.

chownah
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Re: Coping with growing old

Post by chownah » Wed May 22, 2019 2:49 am

A Solution For Loneliness: Get Out and Volunteer, Research Suggests
"Loneliness is rampant, and it's killing us," writes Kasley Killam for Scientific American. "Anywhere from one quarter to one half of Americans feel lonely a lot of the time, which puts them at risk for developing a range of physical and mental illnesses, including heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and depression." Killam surfaces several studies that found volunteering to be an effective strategy to help combat this widespread health problem.
https://science.slashdot.org/story/19/0 ... h-suggests
chownah

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No_Mind
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Re: Coping with growing old

Post by No_Mind » Wed May 22, 2019 4:26 am

chownah wrote:
Wed May 22, 2019 2:49 am
A Solution For Loneliness: Get Out and Volunteer, Research Suggests
Just for clarification, I am not lonely.

What I am saying is approximately this -

If I were born in 1850, then in 1900, my 80-year-old father and I would have shared the same tastes in food, clothing, and music. This more or less continued till 1950.

Fast forward to 1970, there began to be noticeable differences in taste and traits between parents and children (remember the story of The Wonder Years).

Now 50 years after that .. there is a complete disconnect. If I am having a conversation with a 19-year-old, it is as if I am talking to an alien. Let alone Jim Morrison most of them consider Madonna to be .. err .. an antique and have vaguely heard of Springsteen.

The obvious answer would be all those who enjoyed watching Gregory Peck in Roman Holiday should form a club or forum. Unfortunately, social media has not done anything constructive to connect people but made them even more distant.

It is even more apparent in a country like India where 50% of the population is below 25 (though I really dont wish to make this thread country specific).

All advertisements, product launches .. popular movies and music .. design and layout of shopping malls is aimed squarely at those below 30, making it slightly uncomfortable for someone approaching 50. If you have seen a thousand commercials over 4 years and not one had a character above 35 it plays on the mind.

Of course, the obvious answer is to lead my own life, listen to Pink Floyd and The Doors, read Solzhenitsyn and suttas and watch Apocalypse Now (which is a rather neat summary of my life).

But we are humans and seek connection (not that I am lonely and seek that kind of connections but just a chat once a week will do) .. that is where it hurts ..

All in all, it is a struggle to stay relevant (though a more significant question then looms - does one need to remain relevant).

:namaste:
I know one thing: that I know nothing

Srilankaputra
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Re: Coping with growing old

Post by Srilankaputra » Wed May 22, 2019 5:00 am

The secret of going beyond negative thoughts is, paying them no mind. :smile:
O seeing one,we for refuge go to thee!
O mighty sage do thou our teacher be!

Paccuppannañca yo dhammaṃ,
Tattha tattha vipassati

“Yato yato mano nivāraye,
Na dukkhameti naṃ tato tato;
Sa sabbato mano nivāraye,
Sa sabbato dukkhā pamuccatī”ti.

polo
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Re: Coping with growing old

Post by polo » Wed May 22, 2019 5:05 am

I remember Buddha said growing old is suffering. Please correct me if I am wrong.
I was told by a fortune teller that like Ulysses I will travel the world found my wife and kingdom and in the end live to an old age of 90 with white hair (tie in topknot).
So far I have done some voyages (I didn't fight monsters, no, I didn't see any). And haven't yet meet my lady friend. Do I still have time left I keep wondering.
However I find time is running out and I have to go to gym on a regular basis to prevent my body from falling into bad shape. I am not a bodybuilder(bodybuilding is vanity in its purest form) I do corrective exercises to prevent my muscles from deteriorating due to not having enough of exercises.
Buddha's teachings can only console me up to a certain point and I find old age most unforgiving.
Anyone feels the same way?
Is there an escape route? Hormone replacement therapy any good?

Srilankaputra
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Re: Coping with growing old

Post by Srilankaputra » Wed May 22, 2019 6:42 am

polo wrote:
Wed May 22, 2019 5:05 am
Is there an escape route?

There is only one escape route. Developing the Unshakable_Mind.
So you should train like this:
‘Though my body is ailing, my mind will be healthy.’
That’s how you should train.”
They don’t regard form as self, self as having form, form in self, or self in form.
They’re not obsessed with the thought: ‘I am form, form is mine!’
So when that form of theirs decays and perishes,
it doesn’t give rise to sorrow, lamentation, pain, sadness, and distress.
https://suttacentral.net/sn22.1/en/sujato
O seeing one,we for refuge go to thee!
O mighty sage do thou our teacher be!

Paccuppannañca yo dhammaṃ,
Tattha tattha vipassati

“Yato yato mano nivāraye,
Na dukkhameti naṃ tato tato;
Sa sabbato mano nivāraye,
Sa sabbato dukkhā pamuccatī”ti.

budo
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Re: Coping with growing old

Post by budo » Wed May 22, 2019 7:59 am

polo wrote:
Wed May 22, 2019 5:05 am
I remember Buddha said growing old is suffering. Please correct me if I am wrong.
I was told by a fortune teller that like Ulysses I will travel the world found my wife and kingdom and in the end live to an old age of 90 with white hair (tie in topknot).
So far I have done some voyages (I didn't fight monsters, no, I didn't see any). And haven't yet meet my lady friend. Do I still have time left I keep wondering.
However I find time is running out and I have to go to gym on a regular basis to prevent my body from falling into bad shape. I am not a bodybuilder(bodybuilding is vanity in its purest form) I do corrective exercises to prevent my muscles from deteriorating due to not having enough of exercises.
Buddha's teachings can only console me up to a certain point and I find old age most unforgiving.
Anyone feels the same way?
Is there an escape route? Hormone replacement therapy any good?
I see 50-70 year olds riding bicycles, swimming, and hiking all the time, sometimes even skiing. I see 80+ year olds going for walks in forests and parks. My Gf's grandmother is 97 and still enjoys working in her garden and goes for the occasional walk. She stopped swimming at 95, and stopped bike riding at 90!

As long as you can enjoy nature, what's the problem? Consider minimalism.

And besides, Buddhism is just minimalism for the mind.
Last edited by budo on Wed May 22, 2019 8:03 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Dan74-MkII
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Re: Coping with growing old

Post by Dan74-MkII » Wed May 22, 2019 8:03 am

Thank you to the OP for a thoughtful and heart-felt topic, a break from the usual fare.

As a teacher I am constantly in contact with young people and this disconnect is something I come up against all the time, trying also to break past it. Mostly I try to listen and understand where the young people are coming from, what is important to them, how they see themselves and the world.

In some ways I find the young folk I interact with wiser than my generation (don't know if this generalises) - more psychologically aware, more aware of relationship issues. I also find them more afflicted with issues, quite a few experienced bullying in early school years, have problems with mood swings, anxiety, sleeping, depression. There is also more of a kind of resignation about the world, it seems to me, rather than the passion to change things.

On a personal level, this contact probably does ameliorate the feeling you talk about No_Mind. But as you say, things we hold as precious, film, music, literature, it would be wonderful to share it, but even my own children are largely not interested. Meanwhile I worry if anything true and sublime is being absorbed by them from what we call 'culture'.

When I was young I had also hoped to do more good, but now time is running out.


I guess these feeling are part and parcel of growing old..

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