Humans Fear TWO Things The MOST- OLD AGE and ........DEATH, Part 1/2

Being young is glorified, even deified in our society.  After all, being young is a BIG PLUS. We are our most attractive when young.  We also at our peak physically & emotionally.  Our bodies can withstand stress which we can easily rebound from.
Being young is glorified, even deified in our society. After all, being young is a BIG PLUS. We are our most attractive when young. We also at our peak physically & emotionally. Our bodies can withstand stress which we can easily rebound from.
Young people are considered to be at their MOST POTENT & FERTILE.  Being young is seen as the ultimate symbol, archetype, & prototype of masculinity & femininity.  Our heartthrobs are oftentimes young men & women, often elevated to god-like status.
Young people are considered to be at their MOST POTENT & FERTILE. Being young is seen as the ultimate symbol, archetype, & prototype of masculinity & femininity. Our heartthrobs are oftentimes young men & women, often elevated to god-like status.
As we process through life, we become.....OLDER. Becoming older is an inevitable part of life-we EITHER become older or die young. There's no stopping old age.  However,old age is often fraught with apprehension-the dissipation of our younger selves.
As we process through life, we become.....OLDER. Becoming older is an inevitable part of life-we EITHER become older or die young. There's no stopping old age. However,old age is often fraught with apprehension-the dissipation of our younger selves.
Many people are rightfully apprehensive of becoming older because it means increasing restrictions to their lives & other lifestyle choices. They also see becoming older as the harbinger of negative events & outcomes that will occur in their lives.
Many people are rightfully apprehensive of becoming older because it means increasing restrictions to their lives & other lifestyle choices. They also see becoming older as the harbinger of negative events & outcomes that will occur in their lives.

Nothing LASTS Forever

This hub is divided into two parts. In Part 1/2, old age as people's greatest fear will be discussed.

In our society, being young is seen as the most optimal and vital time of life. Of course, this outlook is quite natural and totally understandable. After all, humans function and look their best in their youth. It is a point of contention that our mental powers are most functional acuity and capacity when we are young. Furthermore, we are at our physical peak when we are young.

Our society strongly contends that being young represents the ultimate in physical strength and endurance. Our bodies are very resilient in youth. Such bodies possess the ability to bounce back quickly from injuries and other onslaughts. Our bodies when young also have the ability to survive at higher stress levels e.g. enduring sleepless nights studying for an exam, undergoing an internship, or working overtime. When we are young, our bodies have the capacity to endure and withstand stress. We can party until dawn and still report to school or work in full form.

We are also at our most potent and most fertile when young. Being young is viewed as the ultimate in masculinity and femininity. Young men are deemed to be the ultimate symbols, archetypes, and prototypes of virility while young women are seen as the ultimate symbols, archetypes, and prototypes of femininity. In societies past and present, young men and women are viewed as heartthrobs, even physical incarnations of gods and goddesses.

But as we live, we DO get older. That is the inevitable part of living-either we get older or die . However, many people are not comfortable at the prospect of getting older. As we get older, our bodies no longer function the way it used it. We have to work harder to maintain our attractiveness. Our bodies cannot withstand stress the way it used to. In essence, our bodies rebound more slowly from stress and other occurrences.

Getting older is oftentimes viewed as a negative in our society. To some, becoming older is analogous to starting to decline physically and mentally. Billions of dollars are spent upon anti-aging creams, lotions, and even pills. Plastic surgery has become quite a lucrative business for those from their 40s and beyond. Botoxin is considered the drug of choice for those who want to prevent the onslaught of aging, maintain a youthful appearance, and/or decrease signs of aging. Then there are anti-aging vitamins and other devices designed with the purpose of preventing aging.

Getting older is viewed by many as the harbinger of decline and the start of the dissipation of life as they once knew and lived it. There are those who believe that once they become a certain age, they have to slow down and become more restricted in their purview regarding fashion and other lifestyle choices. To them, getting older is a series of continual negative outcomes and reactions.






Many people believe that they become less vital human beings  as they age. They contend that they lose their physical prowess. To them, old age represents decline-gradual decline culminating in death. They feel that they AREN'T what they ONCE WERE!
Many people believe that they become less vital human beings as they age. They contend that they lose their physical prowess. To them, old age represents decline-gradual decline culminating in death. They feel that they AREN'T what they ONCE WERE!
Many people view old age quite negatively.  Old people are perceived to be mentally senile plus being physically unattractive.In old age,people are thought to be less interested in the world, withdrawing from it. To them, OLD AGE =SLOWING DOWN.
Many people view old age quite negatively. Old people are perceived to be mentally senile plus being physically unattractive.In old age,people are thought to be less interested in the world, withdrawing from it. To them, OLD AGE =SLOWING DOWN.
To many, being old is equated to physical frailty & weakness.  It also means increasing loss of physical independence, becoming more dependent upon others to do even the most simplest task.  Being old is seen as the lost of one's power & ownership.
To many, being old is equated to physical frailty & weakness. It also means increasing loss of physical independence, becoming more dependent upon others to do even the most simplest task. Being old is seen as the lost of one's power & ownership.
There are those who fear old age not because of a degree of physical incapacity but TOTAL physical incapacity. This is equated to being totally dependent upon others, not having power &/or ownership over their lives.
There are those who fear old age not because of a degree of physical incapacity but TOTAL physical incapacity. This is equated to being totally dependent upon others, not having power &/or ownership over their lives.

The Dreaded "O" ............OLD Age

People fear getting older because they believe that they will become less vital human beings. They also fear that they will become more powerless. Being old is a subject often dreaded, even fraught with fear. Old age is still seen as the beginning of decline which culminates in death. When one reaches old age, he/she is thought to decline physically and mentally.

Old people are perceived to be frail and weak, even unattractive. They are furthermore perceived to be losing their mental capacities to remember and retain data. They are thought to be senile. When one is old, it is argued that he/she no longer has any interests in the outside world, often desiring to withdraw from it to live a more subdued life. Old age is viewed by many as a time to lead a slower life and to be resigned regarding one's life expectations and goals.

Many people fear old age as it means the lessening of their physical prowess. They view old age as the beginning of physical debilitation. They also perceive being old is becoming more physical infirm. They have brought into the paradigm that people who are old are not usually as physically vital as those who are young. They have been inculcated that being old means that they cannot be as active as they wish. They also contend that as one gets old, one's body is more susceptible to injury and has a lower rate of resilience.

Others view old age as even completely losing their physical powers, becoming physically incapacitated. There are many old people who can be classified as physically infirm, depending upon others for even the most simplest tasks. To them, old age means an increasing loss of physical independence and becoming more dependent, losing their sense of power and ownership over their lives. To them, the prospect of losing their physical independence can be quite psychologically immobilizing, even paralyzing.

To many, old age=weakening of the physical body. As one ages,one's body can't endure the stress it did when one was younger. The body is more susceptible to physical injuries in old age. Healing also takes longer than it did when one is younger.
To many, old age=weakening of the physical body. As one ages,one's body can't endure the stress it did when one was younger. The body is more susceptible to physical injuries in old age. Healing also takes longer than it did when one is younger.
Old people are cautioned against engaging in more strenuous physical activities because of the fragile nature of their bodies.They're exhorted to use moderation in terms of exercise.This makes some resigned re: old age as it=more restricted activity.
Old people are cautioned against engaging in more strenuous physical activities because of the fragile nature of their bodies.They're exhorted to use moderation in terms of exercise.This makes some resigned re: old age as it=more restricted activity.
There are those who become quite resigned to living a mostly sedentary life because they feel that physical activity is for young people.They contend that it's foolhardy for old  people to indulge in physical activity. In other words, ACT one's AGE.
There are those who become quite resigned to living a mostly sedentary life because they feel that physical activity is for young people.They contend that it's foolhardy for old people to indulge in physical activity. In other words, ACT one's AGE.
Others associate old age with total physical incapacitation. They see total physical incapacitation is an inevitable part of old age.  While a few accept this fact with acceptance, even resignation, others see this as a living death.
Others associate old age with total physical incapacitation. They see total physical incapacitation is an inevitable part of old age. While a few accept this fact with acceptance, even resignation, others see this as a living death.

Old Age....................Loss of Physical Vitality

People fear old age because they know that with increasing age, their bodies become weaker. They contend that they cannot be as physical active as they wish to be. In their minds, that means that they have to be more cautious in terms of activity. Their bodies in old age simply cannot withstand the stresses they endured when they were younger. Because of the wear and tear of their bodies, the healing process takes longer if there is a bodily injury. There are also more maladies such as arthritis and other physical ailments associated with old age.

Old people are cautioned not to engage in extremely strenuous physical activities because of the frail nature of their bodies. They are told to use moderation in terms of participating and/or engaging in physical activities. However, there are old people who do as little exercise as possible because they are fearful that even moderate exercise will result in harming their bodies which they cannot rebound from.

There are old people who believe that once they become old, they only do physical activities only when necessary, preferring a mostly sedentary lifestyle. They reason that since they are old, physical activities should be relegated to the young. They feel that because of their age, it is quite foolhardy to engage in any type of physical activity beyond what is considered to be essential. They are of the school that when one becomes old, one acts one'a age so to speak. They believe that old people should live as physically cautious as possible.

Yet, to some, old age means complete incapacity. There are those who believe that when one becomes old, physical incapacity becomes an inevitable way of life. In their eyes, old age is synonymous with being physically incapacitated. They opine that there is no such thing as an old person in peak physical condition. While some accept, even with utter resignation, that physical incapacitation is a part of old age, others dread this occurrence. To them, the thought of being utterly dependent upon others is quite unnerving, even immoblilizing. To be dependent upon others means loss of freedom and power. They see this dependence as a living death and not living life on their own terms.

One of the greatest fears that people have about old age is loss of mental acuity. Gradual loss of memory is oftentimes viewed as a normative part of old age. When one becomes old, he/she does not remember things as well when he/she were younger.
One of the greatest fears that people have about old age is loss of mental acuity. Gradual loss of memory is oftentimes viewed as a normative part of old age. When one becomes old, he/she does not remember things as well when he/she were younger.
Some old people even joke about memory loss, calling it senior moments.Memory loss can range from the mild to the severe. Memory loss CAN denote an onset of dementia and/or alzheimers disease.  Alzheimer's disease can diminish one's quality of life.
Some old people even joke about memory loss, calling it senior moments.Memory loss can range from the mild to the severe. Memory loss CAN denote an onset of dementia and/or alzheimers disease. Alzheimer's disease can diminish one's quality of life.
The more one advances in old age, including such factors such as hereditary, education, & other environmental/social factors, the greater likelihood of having alzheimers. People fear this as they want to be as mentally alert as long as possible.
The more one advances in old age, including such factors such as hereditary, education, & other environmental/social factors, the greater likelihood of having alzheimers. People fear this as they want to be as mentally alert as long as possible.

Old Age......................Gradual Loss of Mental Acuity

One of the greatest fears regarding old age is loss of one's mental capabilities. As one becomes old, it is oftentimes harder to remember and retain data. The mind is not as agile as it was when one is younger. Frequently, it becomes more and more difficult to perform mental tasks. One can even forget where one places articles such as keys. Many view such things as a normative part of age.

Memory loss is commonplace in older persons from the mild to the severe. Sometimes older people joke about having so-called senior moments, not remembering incidents or moments from one minute to the next. Sooner or later, they do recall that particular incident or moment. However, such memory lapses can be serious in nature and the sign of either dementia or alzheimers.

Studies show that as one advances in old age, depending upon hereditary and/or other environmental factors, there is a likelikhood that one will get alzheimers. Alzheimers is a disease which gradually diminishes memory. Memory loss and/or alzheimers is a great fear among people regarding old age. People want to function at their best mentally as long as possible.

To many, loss of mental acuity and/or capacity means living in a vegetative state, being unaware of their environment. It furthermore means being dependent upon others for care and to take care of even their most basic needs. Most people do not want this type of life, seeing this as a less qualitiative life. They want to be in charge of their lives, living at their full mental capacity. Some will even state that they hope to die when they start to become mentally incapacitated as they do not want to be burden to others and to in a state where they are barely existing instead of being fully alive. To them, such a life would be quite hellish.

When one becomes old, there is a realization of one's mortality. One faces his/her mortality, knowing that death is an inevitable part of his/her life.Death becomes a companion, either to be .......EMBRACED or.......FEARED.
When one becomes old, there is a realization of one's mortality. One faces his/her mortality, knowing that death is an inevitable part of his/her life.Death becomes a companion, either to be .......EMBRACED or.......FEARED.
There are those who embrace their mortality, not fearing it as they led full, engaged,& passionate lives.  They lived life on THEIR OWN terms with no regrets for what might have been. They learned from their mistakes & relished their triumphs.
There are those who embrace their mortality, not fearing it as they led full, engaged,& passionate lives. They lived life on THEIR OWN terms with no regrets for what might have been. They learned from their mistakes & relished their triumphs.
There are those who are afraid to face their own mortality. They have often lived inauthentic lives according to other's scripts/desires. Now in old age, facing their mortality, they wonder what MIGHT have BEEN.Their lives sadly are full of REGRETS.
There are those who are afraid to face their own mortality. They have often lived inauthentic lives according to other's scripts/desires. Now in old age, facing their mortality, they wonder what MIGHT have BEEN.Their lives sadly are full of REGRETS.
Others see old age as an evolutionary stage of life.  They lead active lives, believing that old age is another part of life. They also approach their mortality as yet another stage of life......to be FULLY EMBRACED & WELCOMED.
Others see old age as an evolutionary stage of life. They lead active lives, believing that old age is another part of life. They also approach their mortality as yet another stage of life......to be FULLY EMBRACED & WELCOMED.
For some, old age is merely a harbinger of their mortality & subsequent death. To them, old age is nothing but decay, decline, degeneration, ......then DEATH. To them, old age is one long prison sentence-af purgatory from which death is a respite.
For some, old age is merely a harbinger of their mortality & subsequent death. To them, old age is nothing but decay, decline, degeneration, ......then DEATH. To them, old age is one long prison sentence-af purgatory from which death is a respite.
There are those who are resigned by the fact of their old age & mortality.They miss their youth instead of fully appreciating & finding joy in their old age. They see their age as oppressive, restrictive, even depressive. They FEAR their mortality.
There are those who are resigned by the fact of their old age & mortality.They miss their youth instead of fully appreciating & finding joy in their old age. They see their age as oppressive, restrictive, even depressive. They FEAR their mortality.

Old Age....................Facing One's Mortality and the.......INEVITABLE

As one approaches old age, there is a greater realization, even acceptance of one's mortality. There is a knowing that one's physical life is merely temporary and near its end. One is quite comfortable with the fact that death will become a companion either to be embraced or feared.

There are some who have lived a full, engaged life who fearlessly embrace their mortality. They have no regrets as to how they lived their lives as they lived those lives on their own terms. They embraced life with its positives and negatives, learned and grew from their mistakes and relished their successes.

However, there are those who have lived inauthentic lives and now looking back upon their lives, wished that they have lived life by their own, not by other scripts rather parental or sociocultural. Their lives are full of ifs, shouldas, and couldas. As they face their mortality, they feel that they have something in them that they have not addressed whether it is missed opportunities, accessing a talent, having the job/career, and/or relationship they were passionate about. They have now reached the end of their lives, knowing that it is too late-way, way too late to change the course.

There are those who have embraced old age as an evolution of life, to be savored instead of feared. They continued to lead active, engaged, and passionate lives. To them, old age is just another normative aspect of life. As old age is a part of their lives, so is facing their mortality. After all, death is just another phase of life.


Some see old age as just preparation for death. They refuse to view old age as just another period of growth. Instead, they contend that old age is just one long prison sentence. They regret not being young anymore. To them, old age is mostly or all negatives such as decay, decline, degeneration......and death. They adamantly contend that old age is restrictive in that they cannot and/or unable do the things that they desire. They maintain that old age is so oppressive, even depressive physically, mentally, emotionally, and even psychically that death is a reluctant respite from a sterile, gray existence.

There are a few who see old age as mere resignation. They wish for their younger days, viewing their present old age status as bleak at best and abysmally dismal at worst. They feel that their life as they know it is finished forever. They refuse to live, appreciate, and positively experience their old age, preferring to live in the past where everything was better and sweeter. They dread, even detest the fact of their impending mortality. The latter to them is something to be avoided as much as possible until absolutely necessary.

In Part 2/2 of this hub, I shall discuss another great fear that people have- DEATH.

© 2014 Grace Marguerite Williams

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Comments 12 comments

Kiss andTales profile image

Kiss andTales 2 years ago

Very interesting subject ,because as humans we all are face with these two things , why we are face with them is very interesting and the answer is reachable , from research from the word of God gives us the explanation that no other book can give, even scientist are baffled that our cells regenerate so fast that we should never grow old and die.

But we do. We were made to live forever. Yet something happen along the way.

King James Version Ge 2:17 But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.

Death did not exist of a human until they violated that one law. Not to steal what was not theirs.

Was God a liar? Was the serpent who represented satan the fallen angel right?

Adam and Eve are dead now . And we as their offspring of children have been passed down and scared through our genes from there choice of disobedience .

Like a pie pan that has a dent, every cake made will have a dent of imperfection because of the main pan.

We all are born with that imperfection .

So this also tells us as living proof the bible is true ,and not outdated as we all live this experience of old age and death.

Very good hub for thought.


dashingscorpio profile image

dashingscorpio 2 years ago

Very true!

In the U.S. in particular we place a very high value on youth. Even when listing TV viewer ratings the press and advertisers take particular interest in the "18-49" age group. They see them as being the (key) demographic.

A 25 year old guy who flirts and uses sexual innuendo with women is perceived as a "player" while that same man at age (65) would be called a "dirty old man"! The only thing that changed was his age.

Maybe having sexual interest is only reserved for "the young" as well. :)

Speaking of sex some people will tell a 18 or 20 year old girl to place a high value on remaining a virgin until she gets married. However if she remains single and a virgin at age 50 people believe there is "something wrong" with her. Virginity is valuable only applies to young people.

Gold doesn't turn into brass with age. Virginity is either valuable or it's not.

The only alternative to old age is death. Fortunately we live in a time where more people are health conscious, there a better medications, and even surgical procedures to reduce the appearance of aging. And there are some people who just have some good genes. People like singer Tony Bennett and actress Betty White who continue work/perform well into their 80s and 90s. I believe even those older people who remain fairly healthy still become depressed from time to time as they know they have more years behind them than in front of them. Knowing the end is (near) scares a lot of people to death. I look forward to part 2 of your hub.


gmwilliams profile image

gmwilliams 2 years ago from the Greatest City In The World-New York City, New York Author

Thank you for stopping by and responding.


gmwilliams profile image

gmwilliams 2 years ago from the Greatest City In The World-New York City, New York Author

What you have stated is so spot on and succinct. Fortunately, the old, negative paradigm of old age is changing to a newer, more positive paradigm of what it means to be old. Old age is no longer considered to be the harbinger of decline but another evolutionary station and stage of life where each day is a new and exciting beginning. It is solely up to the individual person as to what paradigm he/she wants to be part of!


Kiss andTales profile image

Kiss andTales 2 years ago

As always I appreciate your work GW!


gmwilliams profile image

gmwilliams 2 years ago from the Greatest City In The World-New York City, New York Author

Why, THANK YOU, Kiss and Tales!


Kiss andTales profile image

Kiss andTales 2 years ago

This is true from a newer outlook of old age, but like a disease that spreads ,doctors and scientist must know its beginning and it's strand of make up to know the cure.

This is how death came to us. But their was a cure paid for so we can experience the real life. Not really considered to real now but very soon. Looking forward to writing a hub on that cure.


Dr Billy Kidd profile image

Dr Billy Kidd 2 years ago from Sydney, Australia

Good post.

I like what you said: "There are those who have embraced old age as an evolution of life, to be savored instead of feared." These are the lucky people.

I'm not sure the fear thing bears out, however. Americans seem to only fear old age after they have had their first experience with it: blood clot, seizure, taking their first fall, losing intellectual capacity to do their job. It seems that the American culture has taught people to just ignore old age. Same with death. It isn't discussed much like in some cultures.


goatfury profile image

goatfury 2 years ago from Richmond, VA

Aging is absolutely a reality, but I can say for certain that things are getting much, much better for older folks over time. 40 today is like 30 was just 2 or 3 decades ago, and 50 will be just like that 10 years hence. I fully intend to kick a lot of ass well into my 80s, and then, hopefully technology will take it from there.


gmwilliams profile image

gmwilliams 2 years ago from the Greatest City In The World-New York City, New York Author

@ Billy, what you have eloquently elucidated is so true indeed. America has the habit of ignoring or rather avoiding subjects which are uncomfortable. The most uncomfortable subjects in American society are old age and death.

@goatfury, you have the RIGHT attitude!


Ralph Deeds profile image

Ralph Deeds 7 weeks ago

From my perspective at age 81, very well done. In my experience a major downside of advanced age is a feeling of loss over diminished opportunity and optimism to undertake new ventures--career, travel, relationships and so forth.


gmwilliams profile image

gmwilliams 7 weeks ago from the Greatest City In The World-New York City, New York Author

@ Ralph, thank you for stopping by & responding. Yes, the negatives of old age is indeed a sorrow over diminished opportunities. It also signifies that there are more years behind one than years ahead- that is a VERY SAD feeling.

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