“Old age is an age period in the life of an organism, which inevitably comes after maturity and is characterized by significant metabolic, structural and functional changes in organs and systems that limit the adaptive capabilities of the organism,” the Great Russian Encyclopedia explains dryly. Perhaps her scientific editors would add something of their own to this article if they were personally acquainted with the heroes of our material.
According to Rosstat data, the share of elderly people over 60 years old among the population of Russia in 2019 was 25%. How will we feel ourselves and life around us when we find ourselves among them?
On the one hand, thanks to advances in medicine, it is easier for us to reach old age today, while retaining all the important abilities of our body. On the other hand, in the world psychological science, a new idea of old age is now emerging as a continuing movement of a person forward, as a development, and not a decline of life.
“How successful aging will be depends a lot on the person himself,” says French gerontologist Maurice Tubiana. “Research has helped scientists identify certain mechanisms involved in the aging process of brain cells. It turned out that intellectual activity, curiosity, interest in communication, desire to learn and move forward noticeably slow down this process, hinder it.
The psychological state of a person is also incredibly important. Aging slows down the more the more he is confident in himself, feels that people need, is able to help others and gladly accept help from them. ” Simply put, the more a person loves life.
“I AM HAPPY THAT I CAN LOVE IN A NEW WAY”
Sergei Fedorovich, born in 1920, in the Kursk region. The war passed from the first day to the last, worked as an engineer. There are no children, but in the family of his second wife he is considered his own father and grandfather. Lives in his apartment, takes care of himself independently.
“I am proud of my past and I look into the future without sadness. Of course, the strengths are not what they used to be, but I do a lot to ensure that they are: I perform 16 pull-ups and 8 push-ups daily, I go up to the fifth floor on foot.
With age, you understand more clearly: you do everything important in life yourself. One and the same life alignment can turn into grief and joy. My two beloved women have died, I have no children – such an old age could be lonely, bitter and angry. But my grandfather also taught: never get angry, doesn’t help.
I have a lovely and wonderful family, now I even have a great-granddaughter. I know: you can’t live only in the past, and you don’t have to burn out from pain when nothing can be fixed. Caring for loved ones gives me a feeling of fullness of life, and the most joyful thing for me now is communication with them.
All our life we are looking for meaning in it, and we only learn in old age. For me, it is about being human – being interested in something other than yourself, being patient, understanding and grateful. Time now passes in a completely different way: before, the years only increased, but now every day lived is a real gift. Old age still has so many joys! They are, of course, different from their youth. But their price is only higher from this. I am happy that I can, as before, live and love in a new way. “
“IN OLD AGE, IT BECOMES EASIER TO LEARN FORGIVING”
Valentin Ivanovich, was born in 1926 near Leningrad, grew up in a boarding school, at the age of 17 he volunteered for the front, went through the war. For over 20 years he worked as a trolleybus driver. No children, lives in a nursing home.
“With age, a person does not change as much as it seems. Yes, I have become worse in hearing and seeing and now more dependent on other people. But in my heart I am independent, free. It’s amazing how quickly time passed! It seems that I just started working … and now it’s already 80+.
In old age, there is an opportunity to rise above your life, to see it in its entirety. You can evaluate everything that was, that is. I want to spend a lot of time with myself, rethink my life. Therefore, I already react to many things from external life in a different way – not so emotionally and passionately, I keep my distance more.
But interest in what is happening has not changed. I like to observe, communicate with young people and see how people change. When I am with them, I understand why I fought and crawled through the whole war on the belly, in intelligence.
Of course, in the past there were a lot of hard, bitter ones, but I try to remember only the good, to appreciate what, even small, that I have. It’s easier to live this way. Unlike some old people, I don’t want to grumble at spoiled youth, ungrateful relatives … I want to thank them and be happy for their successes. In old age, it becomes easier to learn to forgive. It is so pleasant and good at heart from this ”.
“YOU CAN LOOK AT THE PROBLEMS FROM THE HEIGHT OF THE BIRD FLIGHT”
Olga Mikhailovna, born in 1915 in Minsk, during the war years was among the prisoners of a concentration camp, after which she was recognized as an “enemy of the people.” She worked as an accountant. No children, lives in a nursing home.
“It’s a pity you can’t take a picture of me as I was when I was young. I love everything beautiful. But what is there to complain about? One must be able to enjoy everything from everything. We are not eternal, so I learned to enjoy every day. Of course, now I have less freedom, a lot hurts, but there are also pleasant things.
Previously, there was no time for books, but now I read a lot – mainly on history – and I’m very happy about it. I listen to a lot of classical music on the radio. But I regret that I could not sing professionally: I dreamed since childhood, entered the conservatory, but my first husband did not let me finish my studies. To myself, I still sing my favorite arias.
I think I got better with age. More tolerant, or something. As if from a bird’s eye view, I look at all the problems. What is the point of arguing, taking offense? It is better to listen more, analyze and draw your own conclusions. I learned to be more tactful, to listen to people, and before I could take and blurt out something unpleasant.
I do not want and do not intend to limit my life to everyday life – I want to develop spiritually and grow. Someone will say, “What’s the point? Anyway, die soon. ” But such and such die. And I want to live on. It is curious how Moscow will grow and what kind of skyscrapers will be built. And I wonder if the fashion will change: I don’t like the way people wear long hair now ”.
“I LEARN A LOT OF NEWS. AND ABOUT YOURSELF, INCLUDING ”
Ksenia Filippovna was born in 1927 and lived most of her life in Ukraine, working on a collective farm. She spent the war in the occupation, after that she was engaged in the household and children. Lives with his daughter’s family.
“When I was 70, I suddenly started writing poetry. I wanted to send a reply to the letter of my front-line friend, but it turned out in verse. It would seem, where did a person like me get this skill? After all, I finished only five classes, survived hunger, war and occupation, worked a lot – on a collective farm, on the ground, was early widowed, raised two children. And suddenly these lines just ran from under my pen: I wrote them down as best I could – on napkins, newspapers. Since then, a whole notebook has been typed.
Poems are the main gift for me in old age. I am very grateful for this gift: before, I did not have enough time or energy to study, but now, thanks to poetry, I learn a lot. And about myself as well. It also helps me. Recently I was in the hospital, my roommate was feeling bad and asked me to read my poems – she said that they calm her down. Then I dedicated a separate verse to her.
I am glad that it supports people. Over the years, the need to share in general increases – your knowledge, your work, albeit modest. Now I understand better how important it is to appreciate every moment of life, to rush to do what you can. I thought before that I would have a rest in retirement, I would get enough sleep, but no, I don’t want to rest at all – I want to work. It is a pity, of course, that the strength is not the same, but I am not sitting still, my day begins early. Not being lazy is what is important for a happy old age. “
“I HAVE BEEN CONVINCED THAT WISDOM IS BORN FROM FEARLESS”
Elena Sergeevna, born in 1913 in the Moscow region, mainly devoted her life to her family, raising children, and worked. Lives in his apartment, takes care of himself independently.
“They say that old people are wise. Yes, of course, we become wiser at 90 than at 50, but I think that part of this wisdom is born from fearlessness. I cannot say that in old age some special knowledge is revealed to a person, but for sure there is more understanding of oneself and more self-confidence.
I used to be very shy, I was afraid of many things in my life. Now courage has come. I think life has tempered me. It was very hard. Probably, like many people: we make plans, dream about something, try for something, and then everything turns out completely differently. Of course, from this you begin to treat everything more philosophically. I am a believer and I know that the result is often not in our hands – both in small things and in global things. But to be discouraged is a great sin.
In general, I’m not tired of life, I’m interested in the new time. The only pity is that modern life is a continuous race, because of this people began to think much less often, to look inside themselves.
Over the years, we have an opportunity to think differently about life. In your youth you live and live, you don’t listen to yourself, but now it’s quite different. It seems to me that now I know and understand myself better than ever before. I realized that you never need to worry, this leaves strength. And you calm down – and the strength is suddenly found. And I know for sure that there is help from above, even in the simplest things. “
We would like to thank the staff and volunteers of the Sofia charitable foundation for their help in preparing the material.