OCHAZUKE: It Ain’t No Fun Growing Old


(First published in
The Rafu Shimpo on January 20, 2011.)


Man and woman have four feet, two feet and three feet in different stages of life.  We begin life by crawling on all fours, then we walk with our two feet. At the latter stage of life, some of us need a cane to get around.

Crawling is a completely new development for the infant and this is the beginning of adventure, curiosity and discovery. It normally begins from 4 to 6 months. Crawling is essential for the infant to develop and/or improve motor skills and builds muscles. I might say it is really the first form of exercise.

The first five years are the formative years  when the mind, character and personality are formed. This is why we say, “Oh, he/she is reverting to childhood.” What happens during these years is permanently  stored in the “attic” of the brain.

We go through the stages of infancy, toddlers, preteens, teens, adults and seniors. Now, when we reach the senior stage, I  think it is the most difficult period of the stages. All the aches and pains in one’s body seem to, shall we say, “collapse” one after another.  One has to rely on someone more often. One cannot think as fast and there is a tendency to forget things more often. One becomes tired more quickly and needs more rest.  There are some seniors who have sleeping problems. The appetite also seems to dwindle and the quantity of food consumed becomes less.

Some may have not have complete control of certain things and I am sure you know what I mean. There are “very close” veins. These “very close” veins seem to “pop up” very close to the skin on the legs.

However, with growing old, there are indeed advantages. The main one is getting a “senior discount,” which is most helpful and convenient.  Seniors usually receive a 10 percent discount for many things such as admission to theaters, plays, purchases, etc. There are some places and businesses that give a 20 percent discount, although not too many do.

Another thing, if one says or does something not “quite right,” one has the tendency to be excused because, “he/she is old and doesn’t know any better.”  The senior says,  “Oh, excuse me, I’m having one of my senior moments.” People have a tendency to be more patient to the dear “old” man or lady. To a certain degree, there is generally more “respect” for senior citizens.

Growing old doesn’t mean one has to give up everything. One can still work and join others in  becoming “active”  in sports such as golf, swimming or just walking for certain miles, take a one-day pleasure trip and/or  enjoy an evening with friends by going out to dinner, a concert or the theater.

Growing old, then, is a matter of attitude. Although I’m not a beautiful blonde, I say to myself: Hey, I’m still beautiful. I thank God for each new year He has given me. Everyone, everything living (including plants and animals) ages and dies. Learning to accept the gray and thinning hair, brown spots on hands, arms and necks, wrinkles on the face and stooped back, experiencing hearing loss are not a matter of choice, but of necessity.  We learn to mellow with age and grow graciously, although sometimes, it ain’t no fun growing old.


Maggie Ishino is a Rafu typist and can be contacted by e-mail. Ochazuke is a staff-written column. Opinions expressed in this column are not necessarily those of The Rafu Shimpo.


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