Aging: Going Back to Childhood

When I started to read the poem “On Aging” by Maya Angelou, suddenly I began to reminisce about my grandmother. However, the experience I have with my grandmother and the way the poet has portrayed the image of an old person is quite different.

In the poem the poet has showed that an old person wants to be alone, when he or she can indulge himself. He or she wants to listen to his or her mind and tries to savor the peace of calmness. In contrast, my grandmother always hated to be alone. Whenever she was alone she used to call us to join her. She used to say that when she is alone it reminds her about her old age and the upcoming death. She also tried to imply that her loneliness is a sign of our ignorance towards her.

Secondly, the poet has said that an old person doesn’t need anyone’s help, pity, or sympathy. Although I am not sure whether it is really pity, sympathy, or something else, my grandmother always liked kind words from us. She used to say that it makes her feel with happiness and life, as the way childrens feel  with joy and pleasure when elders show them their affection and love via words, gesture, and gift.

The poet has also said that an old person doesn’t like to seek help from others, even though it is hard for him to do their works by himself. He or she likes to be self dependent as long as possible. On the other hand, my grandmother always showed her great thankfulness whenever we offered her any help to her chores. Also in our religion we have a belief that it is mandatory to help an older person in his or her works, so that the God will bless us. We consider it as a way to convey our respect towards our elder.

Nevertheless, one part truly match with my experience with the poem is the last part. I certainly able to relate that part with my experience where the poet has said that it is not always the last goodbye for an old person. Also the part where it says that the heart of old persons is always remains the same as they were young, except the physical change. I have seen my grandmother always jolly and cheerful like a child who becomes ecstatic with simple things. When I asked my mother about that, she told me that a person becoming older is same as a person going back to his or her childhood. Since then I believe that by heart and soul. However, overall I like the poem which has given me a different perspective of old persons.

One Response to Aging: Going Back to Childhood

  1. yogeauw says:

    The character described in this poem is a rare one. As far as I have met, all most all the old people liked being talked to and they often participate in regular talks with the family unless it’s too late or they are tired! But there are also some old people who don’t want to be among the crowd. Who like to be alone and often talks less. So it depends on person to person, their likes and dislikes, their wishes and how he or she behaves in the society and among family and friends. This poem shows a character that is very bold, bold in terms of character-who is serious about herself. Who doesn’t need anyone bothering around her and she doesn’t want anyone to feel pity on her. There are possibilities that she is behaving so because she had a bad experience in her past life or maybe she is scared of death since she’s getting old.

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