Young and Old

Have you ever thought how quickly the years roll on? Growing up I thought that being a kid was cool; carefree, riding my bicycle, building cubbies, playing and exploring with no worries, endless risks and fun. Then the teenage years hit with pimples, school work and conflicting friendships. In my twenties I was married having children and very domesticated. You know, that never ending cycle of cleaning, washing and cooking plus babies nappies, sleepless nights and non stop exhaustion.

When the thirties and forties hit, so did the mortgage payments, stresses and growing family commitments. Mind you there was travel and adventure too. Getting older meant more responsibilities and more experiences to pass on to others. Well the fifties involved weddings in the family, marital stresses, losing loved ones and finding satisfaction in work. Fast forward to my aged Aunty who is 96 and I cannot believe that life has stretched this long for her – an example of courage, determination and a stubborn nature.

Dear Aunty Maggie, my mother’s sister, who lies in a fragile state, thin, bony yet aware of the small things in life like my smallish and cute grand children who visit with me. The contrast between them and her is amazing – their energy, her stillness; their playfulness, her tiredness; their chatter, her silence; their youth, her ripe age.


Maggie the matriarch on the right, and the young ones on the left. Well me, not so young.

She looks at us, posing for a photo, awaken from her sleep with my words, “Hello Mag, it’s me, Margaret. It’s good to see you!” It takes some time before she really responds so the children greet her with a smile and a story; the youngest one in arms, a bit scared. Soon I see the smile appear on her face. They bring her joy and a little change in the day.

Now Elijah is safe in Grandma’s arms at the nursing home, while back in his own home, he’s a happy chappy with the vacuum cleaner – noisy, playful and curious- the best toy ever. He loves the fun!


How beautiful to know that at every age there is magic and mystery. Old can be frightening especially if the magic and fun has gone. Old can bring precious memories that are stored like lollies in a jar ready to taste. Old can bring grace and acceptance, solitude and sacrifice. Old means you have lived many years.

I am glad that I have someone to consider loving who is “old”; likewise, I am happy to share in the excitement and nonsense of “young”; grand children who bring a bit of mayhem and madness into daily routines.

What both young and old need every day is a hug.

A hug that is warm like a summer’s day. A hug that  surprises like a peek-a-boo game; a hug that simply tells them they are loved.


Do you find young and old frustrating, funny or fascinating? WHY?

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M.J. Gibbs
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