Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Life and Old Age





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Aside from what one may choose to do for the world a human being has three major personal responsibilities in life and a fourth more esoteric one that many ignore in the modern age.

The first three responsibilities are to prepare for a career and means of earning a livelihood, to raise a family and see that children grow safely into adulthood as good humans; and to look after one’s parents in their old age if needed for often old people need as much help as little children do. These three responsibilities may vary in extent for individuals. For example, someone may not marry at all or have parents that do not need any help in old age because they manage to look after themselves quite well. There are some who receive an inheritance and need not work for a living but spend time in service or alternatively destroy themselves through indulgence. Some may also face life traumas or health issues that limit their abilities to meet these responsibilities. However, more or less, it is these three responsibilities that most face. 

In trying to execute the three responsibilities each human faces challenges and how well they are able to do it depends on individual circumstances. For example, there are many good humans presently in war torn countries like Syria, who despite their best intentions and efforts are unable to do much on any of these three fronts. Others who live in supposedly peaceful countries may face their own individual personal wars if not national ones. Some end up in hostile marriages or even with hostile parents that create difficulties. Therefore, eventually what is more important is not how well humans succeed at meeting these three responsibilities but how sincere were their intentions and efforts towards  meeting these challenges and how much they evolved into better humans through it all. If a human can reach into old age as someone at peace and reasonably happy then it can be concluded that they have been successful in life, otherwise not so much even though on the surface it appears that they have done rather well. That is what the Lord and a loving mother would wish for a child when they bring it into life. Better a happy hermit than a frustrated billionaire tossing and turning in anguish or drunk into a stupor. Nevertheless, for all, the past is no more than a story in a book and the future, an eternity of many more lives is in front of them to continue their journey, hopefully more successfully with the grace of the Lord so that they too may attain unto blissful states.

Sometime around the age of sixty, a few years later or earlier, a human retires or should retire from an active career, the children may be well into adulthood and aged parents may have left the world. Now a human is freed from all of three major responsibilities of life. A few continue to chase their lust or money even at this late stage but one can only pity them.  Hopefully, he or she has been wise enough during earlier years to have prepared a dwelling, be it a hut or a mansion, so that they have a roof over their head besides some means to meet their most basic needs of food etc. in the very least. Young persons must start working on this bit by bit through their active adult years so as to be comfortable in old age. One need not have too much in old age for as many find, huge mansions or excessive wealth are in reality a burden in old age rather than a help but a basic minimum is necessary so that one does not end up on the street as a beggar.

The question then is what then remains as the main life goal of an old person? Here the fourth responsibility of humans comes in and it is in fact the most important one, the very purpose of life. It is to evolve and become a better person so as to get a better start in next life than even this one.  It it is only then that one can contribute most to making other lives better, not just one's own. Whatever happens to a human during a lifetime has depended much on what they were born with including where they were born, their looks, talents and inclinations and the parents they got. All this was due to storehouse of our karma i.e. our thoughts, emotions and deeds, in a previous life and what we gather in this life shall decide our future one. We reap what we sow and one can not get apples if one plants a thorny bush. It is because of this that saints through the ages have advised that spiritual pursuits must be the prime goal of humans in the very least in this last phase of life. If one has pursued spirituality through the family and career phase of life all the better for then they would have the background for rapid progress in this area when old.

As a retired person, one can enjoy company as well as guide grandchildren, if they get that opportunity. It is likely that many have gathered wisdom and knowledge through a life of ups and down and it is good to share this with others they meet or even the wider world now possible  through the internet. It is a worthy thing to do and creates good karma that shall last beyond death. All life depends much on what the universe, mother earth and society provides and any effort to give something back as well as contribute seems a good thing to do. That has been the main motivation for the present blog by this author for the past several years. Recently I have posted less in this blog as my interests have become more spiritual and started another blog devoted more exclusively to spirituality than the present one that has posts on many diverse topics from life. I posted a poem about old age there. It is a simple and cheerful poem with a lovely message. Do check out at,