It is all about one’s attitude - May 26th 2015

I have been giving some thought as to how it is that advancing age affects people so differently.

My thoughts turn again to Plato and his reports of conversations had between Socrates and Cephalus (The aged wealthy man) in The Republic Book 1 where Cephalus talks about how he finds old age. It is well worth reading.

Socrates talking to Cephalus:

There is nothing which for my part I like better, Cephalus, than conversing with aged men; for I regard them as travellers who have gone a journey which I too may have to go, and of whom I ought to enquire, whether the way is smooth and easy, or rugged and difficult. And this is a question which I should like to ask of you who have arrived at that time which the poets call the 'threshold of old age' -- is life harder towards the end, or what report do you give of it?

I will tell you, Socrates, he said, what my own feeling is. Men of my age flock together; we are birds of a feather, as the old proverb says; and at our meetings the tale of my acquaintance commonly is -- I cannot eat, I cannot drink; the pleasures of youth and love are fled away: there was a good time once, but now that is gone, and life is no longer life.

Some complain of the slights which are put upon them by relations, and they will tell you sadly of how many evils their old age is the cause. But to me, Socrates, these complainers seem to blame that which is not really in fault. For if old age were the cause, I too being old, and every other old man, would have felt as they do. But this is not my own experience, nor that of others whom I have known.

How well I remember the aged poet Sophocles, when in answer to the question, How does love suit with age, Sophocles, -- are you still the man you were? Peace, he replied; most gladly have I escaped the thing of which you speak; I feel as if I had escaped from a mad and furious master. His words have often occurred to my mind since, and they seem as good to me now as at the time when he uttered them.

For certainly old age has a great sense of calm and freedom; when the passions relax their hold, then, as Sophocles says, we are freed from the grasp not of one mad master only, but of many.

The truth is, Socrates, that these regrets, and also the complaints about relations, are to be attributed to the same cause, which is not old age, but men's characters and tempers; for he who is of a calm and happy nature will hardly feel the pressure of age, but to him who is of an opposite disposition youth and age are equally a burden.

The above conversation from so long ago (2365 years ago) shows that, barring ill health, the problems that many seem to have are a product of their characters and disposition not old age per say!  It is all about one’s attitude.

We clearly remember a discussion late one night about 20 years ago at the ancient limestone water source of the Romans at Pamukkale in Central Turkey beneath the ruins of the old City of Hierapolis.

Much like Socrates in the above we asked an ageing (about 80 years old) fellow traveller who to us looked “too old” to be travelling how it was for him. The tales that he told us about his many adventures were inspiring!  One in particular stuck in our minds. He had been in Belize many years before and flew in a light plane to be one of the first to visit some just discovered ancient ruins of the Mayans deep in the jungle. It had been fraught with risk and difficulty but had been one of his greatest adventures. He had no plans to stop travelling!

Enough of the Philosophy! Out we go to greet the day.

Decided on a movie. Mad Max got the gig. Action packed but maybe a little too much! Got our senior’s price with no questions asked and our freebie popcorn and drink. This theatre had layback seats which were very comfortable.

Noticed cute sign in car park for area B they had a Bee sign. This shopping centre is huge and has a garden to sit in off the mall.

We are about to change our post Thailand trip as very cheap airfare to Colombo in SriLanka just came up. Will only lose $28 Australian on hotel cancelation in Manilla so Sri Lanka looks like the one. Must make up our mind over the next few days.

Spent 90RM or $31.80 Australian on a few groceries including Jack fruit, bananas, tomatoes, 2 Ipoh Whit Coffees, some Oat biscuits and a loaf of bread and some Bega Cheese. Pretty cheap for what we got.