The Cocktail of Life: A Mélange of Sweet, Sour, Salty and Spice
Life, in many respects, is a one-way ticket on an unknown train; you don’t know where it leads to or how it ends. Through this journey we enjoy the cocktail of life—a mélange of sweet, sour, salty, and spice that reflects our toddlerhood, teenage, adulthood, elderhood, and of course, the final tinge of bitterness—death.
The first sip of this cocktail is in the world of a toddler where everything begins. We learn to do the things we’ll need in the future track of life we choose. The sour and sweet memories of teenage stem from our rapid growth, both physical and emotional. Puberty begins and many developmental changes take place. Adulthood is the biggest shift of your train, where you learn independence and set off towards the main part of your life.
Finally, we reach elderhood—wondering what has happened to the world and why it has changed so fast. This is where you suddenly realise that the cocktail is about to end. Becoming old is a process of adjusting to continual changes during which people often suffer the ‘empty nest’ feeling. People at this age usually retire. Some people adjust very well to retirement while others find the transition more difficult. They undergo deteriorating health day by day.
Furthermore, the most significant hurdle they face is the death of their spouse, family member or friend. They may also lose their former lifestyle, relationships, ability level, mobility, or independence at this point. These losses can multiply or strike one after the other, which may be manageable individually but overwhelming collectively.
Everyone adopts different behaviours to cope with these losses and changes. If you’ve possibly lived your life the way you’ve always wanted it to be, then perhaps the many decades to reflect on that contentment will allow you to love your grandchildren, tell them your stories with a soft bed and blanket, and a feeling of happiness tranquilize your heart.
On the other hand, if you’ve resisted change throughout your life then you will probably continue doing so and experience negative effects as a result. Some people cope by refusing to accept that change has occurred. This is simply known as denial.
Some may experience guilt in the knowledge that they could have prevented a loss or change by acting in a different way. Isolating oneself may be a way of mourning the loss of a loved one. Some people become overly critical, suspicious or paranoid. They do not trust easily and may feel that they are being taken advantage of.So
me people recall the worst events and people in their lives. They may distort the reality of these particular events or people, holding onto a dark fantasy instead of objectivity. When people fear loss of control, they may lash out in anger. Grief is another common reaction of elderly people which often engulfs them for the remainder of their lives.
In every individual, mind, body, and soul are truly connected to one another. If the mind is under stress, the body finds itself similarly overwhelmed. Excessive stress can be harmful to anyone, but particularly to the elderly population. Physically, it can bring about hypertension, heart diseases, chronic fatigue or a general absence of well-being.
Mentally, they can fall into depression, anger, anxiety, helplessness or hopelessness through conflicted behaviour; inability to make decisions, making mistakes, sleeplessness, forgetfulness, hypersensitivity and eating problems are prominent in older generations.
Some may develop addictions to alcohol or drugs or start smoking. Their usual behaviours and emotions, such as fear and loss of control, may get magnified. Even though these emotions are natural, it’s important to balance that sense of loss with positive ingredients, as only then will you have a formula for staying healthy as you age. These tips can help you maintain your physical and emotional health and live life to the fullest, whatever your age.
As the saying goes: “What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger.” When facing major challenges, try to look at them as opportunities for personal growth. If your own poor choices have contributed to a stressful situation in the past, reflect on them and learn from your mistakes. You can pick up a long-neglected hobby or try a new hobby. Playing with your grandchildren or a favourite pet compels positivity. You can learn something new (an instrument, a foreign language, a new game, a new sport). Spend time in nature. You can enjoy arts (visit a museum, go to a concert or a play).
Sometimes, showing emotions openly will become difficult. However, burying your feelings can lead to anger and depression. Don’t deny what you’re going through. Find healthy ways to process your feelings, perhaps by discussing them with a close friend. No matter how old you are or how unhealthy you’ve been in the past, caring for your body has enormous benefits that will help you stay active, sharpen your memory, manage health problems, and increase your energy. It’s never too late to start!
A recent Swedish study found that exercise is the best contributor to longevity. It adds extra years to your life. But it’s not just about adding years to your life—it’s about adding life to your years. Exercise helps you maintain your strength, improve sleep, boosts mental health and even diminishes chronic pain.
Walking, running, swimming, cycling, and aerobic classes are good choices. Put on some music and dance around! It will release endorphins (the ‘happy hormone’) that boost your mood. It would also be a valuable distraction from your worries. Laughter is a strong medicine. Look outside yourself, laugh at the absurdities of life, and transcend difficulties!
In a nutshell, the happier you are, the longer you live. When you stop taking things for granted and start living, you appreciate and enjoy even more. So keep your back straight, chin up, and live every day as if it’s your last!
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