3 Matters We Put Aside Thinking Our Old Age Will Compensate For Them

And before we know it, we miss a lot of opportunities in life…

6 min readMar 12, 2024
Photo by Nick Night on Unsplash

Disclaimer: Names* changed to protect the identity of the people.

I grow up from the 1980s era. My grandpa? 1920s till 1990s.

Since a child until today, whenever I come across the older generation, I hear the same thing.

“…You can have all the time to … [ fill in the blanks the activities you want to do] … when you are old and retired…”

Today, I bring to you 3 matters in life where people put aside hoping that their old age will compensate for them.

This is my fear — The greatest fear that I have not lived most of my life. And you will not want to experience the same.

Let’s read.

Enjoy now, suffer later. Or suffer now, enjoy later.

The same way I thought over my meals. There was a dining place I would return to for the basmati rice wouldn’t hurt my stomach.

I savored the rice with raita sauce. By the time I was feeling full, I was left with a chunk of mutton to devour.

I was trying to catch a breath — not a good sign of health.

The shop manager’s eyes went wide in disbelief.

“Are you not eating the mutton???…”

I started thinking about life through that plate of basmati rice.

“I will eat it… It’s just that I’m full… Sigh…I’m thinking about life through this basmati rice with mutton steak…” I said.

He looked at me in disbelief. Life and rice?

“Ever heard of save the best for last? Well, not everything in life works by saving the best for last. I saved this mutton (the best) for last. But can you see the state I’m in now?” I asked.

He smiled and nodded.

“Anyone would grab this mutton away from me happily…The best I saved for last would be gone long before I could enjoy it…” I shared.


I lost a lot in life by going for everything secondary to prioritize others first.

Yes. The world is bigger, and our hearts must be bigger for life purposes. However, not settling for the best too often is a mistake.

Just like anyone else who wants to be happy achieving dreams and tasting their desires, you also need to taste some.

Some things in life are meant to be enjoyed now, but not extravagantly.

What we could enjoy now are meant to be enjoyed with a heart of gratitude and strong self-control.

Suffering now doesn’t mean you will enjoy later. A lot of circumstances aren’t in our control.

Seeking Solace or Inner Peace from Spirituality

Seated among the pews with my nun-alike headscarf, the Indian lady, Martha* commented:

“You’re too young to wear black…And with that scarf, you look like a nun”

I wore a plain European long dress and a white headscarf.

The bold question came, “Are you a nun?”

“I’m not a Catholic nun…but I once lived in a Muslim monastery… Dergah, some people called it… ”I answered.

“I’m sorry for asking you this… I’ve been busy with life, work, children, everything, and now.. after retirement…Well, my cat died and I’m alone, “ she said.

She seriously looked worn out, weary, heavy laden, burnt out and tired of life.

“I never had the time or even think of attending the mass. I don’t know a lot of things about catechism too… Now, it’s time. But I don’t know where to start…Do you know where I can begin from?” she asked.

Martha* reminded me what the movie Barbie mentioned.

When you ripped your other portal, your human nature runs amok within you for help. You need to heal the other portal.

I saw that she waited for an old age to be ready to practice her faith seriously. Or rather, she waited for so long before she could have the chance to focus and have more time for herself and her Lord. Well, better late than never, isn’t it?

She relived the number of people I met, older than me.

Most of them told me to wait till I reached my retirement to learn about God, spirituality, rituals or a religion. They belittled education and upskilled efforts.

I think most of you knew the past long years generations sayings “A woman’s place is the kitchen. It’s a waste of money to pay for higher education.”

Martha* wept through the mass.

I wouldn’t know the regrets she must have been through. But her tired and worn-out self, told me many stories.

“I would love to wear black and put on the scarf like you, one day. I love the old times of our practices…” said Martha*.

Yes, among the old practices of Catholics was that the women who attended mass wore a veil. I love veils too.

Begin from here… Slowly God will lead you. 4 years ago, I understood nothing. 4 years later, here I am still seeking, discovering, learning…it’s a long journey… as long as you keep seeking, you will find…” I said.


When you think it is time to take faith seriously only when you are retired or at old age, think again. It is a spiritual relationship journey.

Not a religious package. Not ritual.

The least you can do is to drop by at least any days a week to go to your prayer site.

It’s the consistency that gradually leads to progression. Not the number of rituals we do.

It is being present consistently that open new gates we never thought will — beyond our expectations.

At least, once in a while through that consistency you are discovering something you do not understand before.

To be totally cut off from holding onto a belief is like falling for everything in life. Your peace goes scattered everywhere.

Soon, you will be running after the peace and comfort you have been longing for from the wrong places… Like from your busy adult children, in-laws, friends, grandchildren…

Once they’re independent, they are less likely to need you. You’ll feel empty without keeping your inner child, soul or spirit accompanied by spiritual feedings.

I always meet interesting people when I sit among the pews in the mass.

Most of them thought I am a Catholic nun. They feel uplifted. All they want is to cheer up and see there’s hope.

Because that would be the time when they noticed God made anything possible.

Finding time to rest and spend a little for ourselves.

“After my 3rd child completes his university, I will retire… I told them I want to stay home, rest, and enjoy the rest of my old days…” said many aged people.

This was what my late paternal uncle said. And my maternal youngest uncle also said the same thing. Looking at my dad, I wondered if they would get the chance to chill by the time it would be their turn, or they might be battling sickness.

It’s not wrong to work very hard for our family.

It’s only wrong to think that we should suffer and be tired, worn out, or burnt out so that others have comfort.

I do not see that God is asking us to suffer. God only wants to see us take the challenges in life with courage. Not fear.

God wants us to achieve anything but within our capacity, not expecting people to sacrifice for us.

It’s a mistake to jeopardize our health for the sake of other people’s well-being.

Well, my late paternal uncle passed away almost 2 weeks after my Aunt’s assets were finally distributed.

He didn’t get to taste my Aunt’s money which he fought adamantly for. Yes, he did manage to leave the money for his family. But he did not get the chance to rest, chill, enjoy his old age or witness his children’s graduation.

Likewise, my dad. He slogged so hard especially to put my elder sis and younger brother through the university. He wanted to enjoy his old age. But he couldn’t as brain cancer greeted him.

Whenever I pushed the wheelchair which my dad sat on, I always thought of his feelings. This has been the long-awaited time and age for my parents.

The time they hoped to sit, rest, chill, relax, and free to go anywhere they wanted. This didn’t happen.


Take heed from my real-life examples. Work hard whenever you got the chance to work. But never forget to have a bit of fun too.

Your fun could be going for that bakery course just to make good pastries. Or you might even make the mess in your kitchen to try out recipes from your Instagram network.

Even if you had to fake working just to take a day off from your family, do it. As long as you did the right thing, the rest didn’t matter.

Find time for yourself to at least have a sip of coffee and eat your favorite cake away from family and friends. You needed it.






Author who wrote about Life in Yemen | Writer on Medium with Random Topics | Catholic by Faith