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Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Growing old

Since 2 months I'm 55. Is that old? My mother is 80. My neighbour is 90+. That seems old to me. Yet, recently a Kenyan friend asked me why I always go for old women. Old??? They're some 10+ years younger. That's old, she said to me. Apparently, age is in the eye of the beholder. Like beauty. 

My mind feels younger than my body. I guess that was different when I was young. I feel and think that this blog has further increased my thirst for knowledge. There's a saying in Dutch that translates as follows: you're never too old to learn. Somehow I feel that it's ”over & out” once you lose your eagerness to learn. This also explains my choice for the blog's motto “Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.”

I doubt that I want to grow old in my country – or Europe. I don't feel warmth in the hearts of people. I suppose that this feeling is also related to our climate. Nevertheless, I don't like these Dutch warehouses stocked with senior citizens. There's one in front of my house. I pity the people living there. When my neighbour moved from her house to that warehouse she died within months after being there. My other neighbour is 90+ and still lives by herself with help of friends and family. 

I've been considering to retire in a low cost country with a warm climate. That's easier said than done considering language barriers, flight distances, medical care, and general safety. The USA has Florida and English as the common language. Europe is full of languages. Last year, I visited the Dominican Republic to check it out. That climate is too hot and too humid for me and I hated the mosquitos that kept sucking my blood. Cuba might be a much better choice and I hope to visit soon.

Watching the movie The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel made me believe that such a business concept should work as it leverages on the arbitrage of the cost of living between 2 countries. In more simple words: your pension allowance has more spending power in a low cost country. I'm convinced that the future cost of living in many European countries will erode many pensions. The alternative might be a Best Exotic Marigold hotel inside or outside Europe. I have no clue whether my business idea is a sound one. I hope to implement it myself in years to come. 

Growing old doesn't look appealing. Neil Young once sang “it's better to burn out than to fade away”. I can relate to those wordsThe feeling of growing old has various stages. Some day you're too old for school. Some day your father dies (1994). Some day a 1st friend dies (1998). Some day you're too old for work. By the way, that day gets sooner and sooner.

The care for the elderly is still being eroded for budgetary reasons. The demographic mushroom that is in the making, doesn't bring much good news. It feels like a time bomb. Once you're old, you no longer seem to be a full member of society. Dutch senior citizens have their own political party now. Perhaps it will help hearing their voices and votes. 

I hope to grow old amongst warm people who enjoy and embrace life rather than those people nagging about anything and everything as they're unable to value what they have. Only what they don't have. I found my paradise in 2012. In my mind I still walk along the quiet white beaches, feeling the warm Indian Ocean water touching my feet while looking at my bright coloured house amidst the palm trees. The mind can be beautiful. I love going there.