Dr. Vis Blog 2 – Growing Old Gracefully


I am often asked why I keep working even at this ripe old age?!

I do not get offended though this may be considered a very personal question such as “how much do you earn or how old are you?”

I try to explain that I continue to have the passion for this industry (not so much the money part) but for the technical challenges where I love to expend my energy, effort and exertion.

I tell the questioner about my meeting Mr. Rawal who served as Technical Manager of a shipping company in Hong Kong. Mr. Rawal told me about his Apprenticeship  in Karachi Port Trust (this is what triggered my awe). I could not help asking him how young he was. He answered 76! He was still climbing the gangways, drydocks !! I expressed my great admiration and Mr. Rawal asked me to visit him at his office the next day, which I did. There awaited another bigger surprise.

As we sat at his desk discussing, I saw a tall, frail and erect figure walking up and down the office space. Mr. Rawal pointed him out to me and said “you went gaga over my 76 years of age, this gentleman is the owner of the company and he is 93 years and he is here every morning ahead of other employees!! His memory is sharper than mine!”

Let me provide some personal insight on this topic. All of us, as we age, can get into bouts of depression. This may be due to physical ailments and inabilities, or due to getting sidelined at home by other family members. If you are not working, you will keep asking yourself “why is my life so useless?” All that you achieved in the earlier part of your life will not help you get over this depression. Your own grandson will tell you “Grandpa, I have heard this story of your successes so many times, have you anything new to say?”

Let us face it. It is not such a kind world. If you contribute, you have a place. Think about the Eskimos. When the man can no longer bring food, one day the door of the Igloo will not open for him. He just stays outside and freezes to death.

Is there a solution? Yes, Yes, more than one solution.

First of all, never lose your enthusiasm, your mojo, your optimism, your positivity. Find these in you through whatever you may be doing, vocation or avocation.

Secondly, please do something for others, not you and yours. This is the best way to find worth in your life.

Thirdly, find company of like minded persons, perhaps of like age and tastes and in similar situations. In medical terms they are called Support Groups.

In a millenial study termed “WHAT KEEPS US HEALTHY AND HAPPY” conducted by Harvard lasting 75 years, 724 adults from different strata of the society were monitored for mental health , physical health, career and most importantly Happiness.  Only 60 of the 724 are alive today and are in their 90s in age. The findings of the study can be stated as “GOOD LIFE IS BUILT WITH GOOD RELATIONSHIPS”. It is good to note that it is not the richest, nor the most powerful that lived longest. It is those with good relationships with family and friends and society that lived longest and in best health. Also, their brain functions were sharper as also their memories.

Mark Twain said over a century ago “There is so little time for bickering; Good Life is built on good relationship”.


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