What does it feel like to be really old knowing that death is imminent?

Stan Hayward, Film/TV/Book writer: 

I am really old, and I know death is imminent.

Most of my friends have passed away, and of those remaining, they suffer from health problems in some way
I am myself totally deaf and partially blind. I live by myself

I am writing this at 6am in the morning
Today, if the weather is fine
I will go for a walk
I will chat with friends
I will do my shopping
I will do my laundry
I will feed the cat
I will tidy up what needs to be done
I will put out the garbage

I will do what most people do who are not really old and know that death is imminent
Because there is no feeling of being old

There is a feeling that you can’t do what you used to do
There is a feeling that you might lose your independence, or if you already have, a feeling that you should try and do as much as you can by yourself
There is a feeling that you should spend as much time as possible with those you like to be with

There is a feeling that time is precious. Of course it always was, but one becomes more aware of it
There is a feeling that many things one does will be done for the last time

There are passing thoughts about those who respect you because you are old, and about those that dismiss you because you are old

There is the aspect that life is changing fast with all the new advances that inundate us daily
There is the aspect of life that nothing changes

Mothers still smile at their babies
Children are still enthralled with their first pet
Learning to ride a bike is still as much fun as starting a company
Blowing out your birthday candles is still as satisfying at eighty as it was at eight

It is not that death is imminent that is important, but that when the curtain comes down, the audience leaves with a sense of satisfaction

As someone once said
The World is a stage
You played your part for what it was worth
You take your bow
and leave

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I am surprised at the number of responses this answer has recieved, and in particular from young people concerned about getting old

I am 84. My generation is probably the last generation to get old in the usual sense of ‘getting old’

My predicted life expectancy is 81.5 years so I am already living on borrowed time
But 1 in 4 people will live past 100, and the first person to live to 150 is alive now. It may be me
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/scien…

But living for a long while is not the same as getting old
The normal image for an old person is:

  • Loneliness
  • Loss of faculties
  • Becoming dependent on others
  • Being out of touch with the world
  • Constant illness
  • Confusion
  • Being house bound
  • Not being able to contribute to society
  • Unmotivated
  • Losing close friends
  • Living in the past
  • Finding young people impatient
  • Not being catered for in the world generally

But perhaps the worst thing is being viewed as old

I used to practice judo, but I don’t now. That’s because I haven’t practised for many years. But age is not the problem. Here is someone teaching it well past 100
http://luzijian.com/

I used to play guitar in a band. I don’t now. But I could if I wanted to. There are plenty of professional musicians of my age and older who do. Les Paul was still playing at 90

I used to go scuba diving. I don’t now. But I could. My friend Reg Vallintine was teaching into his 80’s and is still active in the field
https://www.google.co.uk/search?…

I used to be a sailor, but I am not now, though I could be
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/…

It is not age that prevents one doing these things, providing ones health is OK, but ones priorities with the time available

I am a writer. I have published two books this year, and have others with publishers. I have nine websites and blog, and write daily on Quora

I have a friend who at 78 met his old sweetheart of sixty years ago at college. She was a great grandmother, now a widow. He had never married. They fell in love again and married. He says he has never been happier

I have a friend of 81 who out of loneliness took up dancing a year ago. He is now training to be a dance teacher and courting a dance teacher half his age

I have a lady friend of 76 who dates guys on the internet and then dumps them as frequently as any twenty year old

Most of my friends of my generation are fully active.
They always were fifty or sixty years ago when I first knew them. It was because of their positive attitude to life that we became friends in the first place

Why you will never grow old

With the internet etc. you will never be lonely in the traditional sense;
With the many advances in medical appliances and related fields you will be able to care for yourself well into old age, or will allow others to care for you much easier than now;

With home surveillance and the internet of things, you will be largely self-dependent, secure, and in touch with those you need be;

As a matter of course you will become more aware of your needs to eat well, be active, and generally take care of yourself

Your work will be less stressful than the past, and you will work shorter hours. There will be more activities for you to participate in and more social events for you to join

In all, though you will get old you will not be old.
You will die when your time comes, but you will not be forgotten because your life will be digitally immortalised;

Be thankful that your great, great, great, great, grandchildren will be able to know you, and that you live on in their genes.

Stan Hayward

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