Beneath the veneer of age


The autumny grey weather outside seems to fit the Frysian song that I’m listening to at the moment – I feel like listening to an old Twarres album that I bought many years ago in Amsterdam. Twarres is a duo from the Friesland province in the Netherlands, who sings their songs in English and Frisian, the local dialect in Friesland. I have a wide collection of music in my house – from Frisian to Latvian, from Gamelan to Georgian. 🙂

It’s another long weekend here in Australia as we commemorate Anzac Day tomorrow – so we have Monday off. Thankfully my driving lesson is also scheduled for this afternoon at 4.30pm so I could get up later this morning. It’s such a luxury to get up later thesedays … hehe. It’s still going to be quite a full day though – after a shower, I’m going to walk all the way down to the Royal Adelaide Showground to see the Sunday Mail Home Living Expo, and then on to the prayer meeting this afternoon, then I will have my driving lesson. So it’s going to be quite a busy Saturday!

Checking my uni email last night, I found that one of the affiliated scholars to the Institute had passed away. He was probably in his late 70’s or in his 80’s. He visited the Institute earlier this year and I didn’t get to talk to him at all except for attending a seminar that he presented. The content of the seminar was basic – compared to the complex academic works that other presenters deliver normally. Those who attended nodded politely and rather than asking pointy questions like some of us normally would, there was only one general question from the floor. However, after reading messages of condolences in my mailbox, I realised that there was a lot more to the man than what met the eyes. People described him with such affection; they quoted emails that he wrote and shared past encounters in a local club. His wife apparently passed away some years ago and he approached life with gusto, even though people mentioned that he did miss his wife immensely. His passing away taught me two lessons … The first one, is not to be to hasty in developing a conclusion or judgment: not to judge a book by its cover or even by its first few pages. I should be more patient and read on or explore on, as I may find hidden gems that other people have discovered. The second one is to live life to the fullest, and to accept death with peace: some people want to live forever young on the here and now, but how could you face life if your loved ones have gone before you, and the people around you do not value you as much as you should? I might have been guilty in thinking that he was a ‘lovely’ old man, but others who knew him better regard him as a smart, kind, intelligent, and insightful person.

It’s often that we guiltily label seniors with condescending tags such as “lovely old lady” or “lovely old man” and stop at that, forgetting that beneath the age and weathered body lies a person with wisdom, insights, stories and experience.

Published by fuzz

I've finally relented to the lures of blogging - and for those who care, well, I'm a self-confessed geek who's a wanderer at heart, who thinks and analyses too much, and who's trying hard to hold on to his 7-year old inner persona.

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