Why do some people let themselves go when they get older?

It is probably a question that everyone asks, at least twice in their lives and has a lot to do with systems of belief and mindset.

The first time you ask this question, it is usually directed outward, at others. You are probably curious about why and how people get old when you are young, strong, resilient, have time, ignorance and inexperience on your side.

Most likely the next time you ask it, it is directed inwardly, it is a question that you ask yourself. This time, when you ask this question, you are probably not so young and a lot of time has been chalked up on the clock now and are beginning to feel the advancing cold at a deeper, darker level.

Below is a shortlist of a few of the factors involved when people just decide to go, to quit:

  • They drop. Like a man suffering from hyperthermia who is treading water with nothing to hang on to that will keep him afloat or a swimming rat that has abandoned a sinking ship, too far from land, they have become exhausted and sink to the bottom.
  • It’s too much trouble. It hurts too much. The desire to remain sexy and vital as the years drag on is no longer worth the trouble, The motivation to be the top of your personal game has gone the way of the dinosaurs and if you let it go, will be devilishly difficult to retrieve.
  • You are on the wrong side of the clock. Time is not on your side. It is difficult to conjure up the necessary time and energy to learn anything new. A youth-worshipping society raises its imperious finger to point out unto the lonely, desolate wastelands with the order to “Go!”
  • There is no margin of profit in it. The growth efficient, profit oriented demon-accountants of the speed driven commercial machinery of life do the math, conclude that after X years you are of little use and so withdraw favourable treatment. These outside forces make the decision that you could not possibly produce much of value, certainly not enough to justify the amount of resources used up or the amount of space that you fill up. A popular and mystifying dynamic finds its place and is put into force.

…and these people who are no longer young, who should know better, who in better years survived on the largess of society’s heavily proscribed favours, foolishly take to heart the ruthless signals that it now consistently, imperiously and impersonally sends out to them. It’s a message devoid of much sentimentality or kindness, these dark instructions are delivered with a brutal coldness that the hapless recipients neither foresaw nor were ready for.

In short, these victims of time, the ones who “just let themselves go when they get older” lack both the flexibility to bend with the vicissitudes of age or the strength and resiliency to fight it.


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