What Does It Feel Like To Be Really Old, Knowing Death Is Imminent?

What does it feel like to be really old knowing that death is imminent?: originally appeared on Quora: The best answer to any question. Ask a question, get a great answer. Learn from experts and get insider knowledge. You can follow Quora on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+.


Answer by Stan Hayward, Film/TV/Book Writer, 83 years old

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 6 a.m. 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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