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Question: Why am I always afraid of being Old?

Osho: LIFE, if rightly lived, if really lived, is never afraid of death. If you have lived your life, you will welcome death. It will come like a rest, like a great sleep. If you have peaked, climaxed in your life, then death is a beautiful rest, a benediction. But if you have not lived, then of course death creates fear. If you have not lived, then certainly death is going to take time from your hands, all future opportunities to live. In the past you have not lived, and there is going to be no future: fear arises. Fear arises not because of death but because of unlived life.

And because of the fear of death, old age also gives fear, because that is the first step of death. Otherwise old age is also beautiful. It is a ripening of your being, maturity, growth. If you live moment to moment, to all the challenges that life gives, and you use all the opportunities that life opens, and if you dare to adventure into the unknown to which life calls and invites you, then old age is a maturity. Otherwise old age is a disease. Unfortunately many people simply age, they become old, without any maturity corresponding to it. Then old age is a burden.

You have aged in the body, but your consciousness has remained juvenile. You have aged in your body, but you have not matured in your inner life. The inner light is missing, and death is coming close every day; of course you will tremble and you will be afraid and there will arise great anguish in you. Those who live rightly, they accept old age with a deep welcome, because old age simply says that now they are coming to flower, that they are coming to a fruition, that now they will be able to share whatsoever they have attained.

Old age is tremendously beautiful, and it should be so because the whole of life moves towards it.
It should be the peak. How can the peak be in the beginning? How can the peak be in the middle? But if you think your childhood is your peak, as many people think, then of course your whole life will be a suffering because you have attained your peak -- now everything will be a declining, coming down.

If you think young age is the peak, as many people think, then of course after thirty-five you will become sad, depressed, because every day you will be losing and losing and losing and gaining nothing. The energy will be lost, you will weaken, diseases will enter into your being, and death will start knocking at the door. The home will disappear, and the hospital will appear. How can you be happy? No, but in the East we have never thought that childhood or youth is the peak. The peak waits for the very end.

And if life flows rightly, by and by you reach higher and higher peaks. Death is the ultimate peak that life attains, the crescendo. But why are we missing life? Why are we aging and not maturing? Somewhere something has gone wrong, somewhere you have been put on a wrong track -- somewhere you have agreed to be put on a wrong track. That agreement has to be broken; that contract has to be burned. That's what I call sannyas: an understanding that up to now I have lived in a wrong way -- I have compromised, not lived, really.

When you were small children you compromised. You sold your being. For nothing. What you have gained is simply nothing, just rubbish. For small things you have lost your soul. You have agreed to be somebody else other than yourself; that is where you missed your path. The mother wanted you to become somebody, the father wanted you to become somebody, the society wanted you to become somebody; and you agreed. By and by you decided not to be yourself And since then you have been pretending to be somebody else.

You cannot mature because that somebody else cannot mature. It is false. If I wear a mask, the mask cannot mature. It is dead. My face can mature, but not my mask. And only your mask goes on aging. Behind the mask, hiding, you are not growing. You can grow only if you accept yourself -- that you are going to be yourself, nobody else. The rosebush has agreed to become an elephant; the elephant has agreed to become a rosebush.

The eagle is worried, almost consulting a psychiatrist, because she wants to become the dog; and the dog is hospitalized because he wants to fly like an eagle. This is what has happened to humanity. The greatest calamity is to agree to be somebody else: you can never mature. You can never mature like somebody else. You can only mature like you. The "shoulds" have to be dropped, and you have to drop too much concern about what people say. What is their opinion? Who are they? You are here to be yourself.

You are not here to fulfill somebody else's expectations; and everybody is trying that. The father may be dead,  and you are trying to fulfill a promise you have given to him. And he was trying to fulfill a promise to his own father, and so on and so forth. The foolishness goes to the very beginning. Try to understand, and take courage -- and take your life in your own hands. Suddenly you will see an upsurge of energy. The moment you decide, "I am going to be myself and nobody else. Whatsoever the cost, but I am going to be myself," that very moment you will see a great change. You will feel vital. You will feel energy streaming in you, pulsating.

Unless that happens, you will be afraid of old age, because how can you avoid seeing the fact that you are wasting time and not living and old age is coming and then you will not be able to live? How can you avoid seeing the fact that death is waiting there and every day it comes closer and closer and closer, and you have not lived yet? You are bound to be in deep anguish. So if you ask me what to do, I will suggest the basic thing.

Related Osho Articles:
Osho on How to Deal with Fear
Osho - I still don't accept myself
Why it is so difficult for me to love myself  
Osho - If I Let Go I fear I am gone forever
Osho - Can you say some thing about Guilt and Fear

Osho - Fear of Women is basically the Fear of the Mother
Osho - What is the difference between Maturity and Aging?
Why am I such a Beggar for Attention? What can I do about it?
I would appreciate your talking a little about the Phenomenon of old age.

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