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DateLine Sunday, 19 August 2007

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Life begins at 60!

I have read many articles written by scribes during my leisure. Some say life begins at 30. Others say life begins at 40. Once I read another writer claiming that life begins at 50. Today however, I think life begins at 60!

At sixty we think we are too old to learn anything new. Some of us think that we should release a bit after sixty. Then there are others who are taking medicines for various ailments. They might ask how can they do anything meaningful when they are suffering - physically and mentally.

If you think that life is slowing down, that is because you are not engaged in anything interesting. How can I learn some new skills at this age? How can a 60-year-old man attend classes? Others will laugh at me. These are all negative ideas. If you really want to do something new, start it now. Age is no barrier.

Our sister paper "Silumina" featured an 80-year-old man learning how to use a computer. He is a well-known writer. He never thought that being 80 is a disqualification. In fact, it is a qualification. For instance, his colleagues in the class may not have his long years of experience in life. Life experience matters a lot in education. Old men learn better, if they are really keen on what they are doing.

Most of my friends think that there is no point is learning or doing any work. Why? They say they are coming closer to death day by day. How many of them know that the world's greatest philosophers, musicians, writers, actors and judges had reached the peak of their careers long after they were 60. Even at certain private and government institutions employees who are over 60 are being employed because of their knowledge and experience.

Sometimes trade unions and young employees may not favour such an arrangement. However, many of these old employees would test the physical and mental strength of much younger men. I invite those young men to go a little further back in history.

How many of them know that Plato - the greatest Greek philosopher-learned and taught in his eighties? Even Sophocles wrote "Oedipus Coloneus" when he was quite old. socrates became a brilliant orator in his 94th year!

You might argue that you are not going to live so long. That means you have conditioned your mind to die young. Apart from accidents and major illnesses, this is another reason why people die as soon as they retire from work. Those who keep themselves active live long and I can cite many examples.

In the developed West dance floors are frequented by men and women over 60 or 70. They can be seen flitting from club to club or from ballroom to ballroom.

Even in Sri Lanka most of the active members of the Young Men's Buddhist Association (YMBA) are elderly men of course, they are not young men but men young at heart!

Young or old we cannot live for ever on this planet earth. But why should we get ready to welcome death at our doorstep when we turn 60?

For many of us the approaching old age is a terrible burden. As soon as we find the first grey hair in our heads we run in circles, to become young again. We do this by using hair dyes available in plenty in the open market. Most of these dies are injurious to health. But we apply them to hide our real age. Do you think you can dupe anybody by doing so?

It is not the grey hair that matters. If you are active and useful to society in some way, people will not mind your grey hair. They will respect you as someone knowledgeable and dependable. Winston Churchill became the Prime Minister of Britain once again at the age of 77. Our own Bradman Weerakoon became the secretary to the Prime Minister at the age of 75.

If you cannot sleep properly or experience joint pains here and there, these are the results of inactivity and lack of interest in anything worthwhile. One of the most important points to remember is that we have a subconscious dynamic which generates an enormous amount of cosmic energy.

Your attitude to life will recharge or diminish its energy.

To all those whose clock of age has struck 60, or even more, there is only one advice we can give! Keep busy.

If you lead an idle life you will naturally become lazy and unproductive, When you keep your heart, mind and body always active, you become a pleasant person. When you see the positive side of life, you will soon discover, the elixir of a long and happy life.

 

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