life, thoughts

Dwindling

metal bnch wmThis could be someone’s grandma’s house.

I’ve always enjoyed spending time with older people. I mean, even when I was a teenager, I looked forward to spending time with my grandparents.

When growing up, I was the youngest in my class and pretty much the youngest wherever I went. My nearby cousins were a little older, but it seemed like a big difference when I was a kid. My one sibling was younger than me, but we didn’t hang out together.

These days, there is a dwindling amount of people that are older than me. My immediate friends are in my general age-range.

Since I moved back from Florida to my old hometown, I find myself in the new position of meeting people younger than me. It’s odd, because I don’t feel older than them, but that’s not what bothers me about it. What bugs me is that younger people don’t seem interested in forging friendships with someone older.

nana-pie wm
Nana and Piezon

Older people have wonderfully fascinating stories. I’d rather listen to their experiences than read a good book. I mean, they’ve been through so much, and no one’s life is without intrigue, I don’t care how boring they think they are.

When I lived in Florida in ’09, myΒ  beloved heart dog (shown left) got sick and was dying. We asked our neighbor Al, an 80 year old retired pastor, if he’d come lead a prayer with us. We hadn’t talked too much before than, but the situation gave us an opportunity to get to know Al. I knew he was an Austrian-Jew, but had no idea he was 9 years old when the Nazi’s came calling. I also didn’t know that he came to America as a teenager, was raised Christian and had lived in my hometown of Chicago for more than a decade.

When I used to attend al-anon in my late 20’s, most of the members in my group were old enough to be my grandmother(s). My mentor was 68 and my sponsor was 75.

Grandma
Grandma

When I was a kid, I loved to hang out with my grandma and her sister, my favorite aunt. They giggled more than I did with my teenage friends. They made me laugh out loud with stories about their Italian-immigrant parents. I don’t even think they meant to be funny, but their culture and way of speaking made the stories so colorful.

I’m not in a hurry to reach that age, But, I don’t have children, so obviously, grandchildren won’t hear the stories of when their grandma used to rock the clubs and met their grandpa at a bar.

I wasn’t Al’s grandchild, or my mentor’s grandchild, but still enjoyed listening to their stories. Not only are they fascinating, but they are full of knowledge we could put to good use. We could learn about history … learn not to make the same mistakes …Β  or what to do that worked. Maybe people my age will tell me their stories.

Yep, the number of people older than me are dwindling.

Have you ever met any older people that inspired you with their stories?

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29 thoughts on “Dwindling”

  1. Nice blog you’ve got here. I don’t like to be labelled, so I have to remind myself now, when I talk with ‘young people’, that I’m getting to be the ‘old’ one. After all, it’s just numbers … a person twenty some years younger than me can appear old and the other way around.

    I totally loved the comment here above from Seattle Trekker.

    Since I came to Canada, so many in my age group have died [I follow the obituaries in the local paper], and it’s always a reminder of that the future is finite.

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    1. Yes, our finite future. I forget how old I am until someone younger doesn’t seem interested in forging a friendship. Which is fine, I have plenty of friends, but I could not be that way.

      I appreciate you coming over to my blog, Rebekah. It was kind of you to share your knowledge with Linda on her .pdf issue, and I’m glad to meet you.

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      1. Glad to meet you too πŸ™‚ I feel old when I’m in electronics stores, and they young people working there roll their eyes, because they take it for granted I won’t understand anything LOL

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  2. A marvelous post and comments. Your mom was right!

    I forget that I am old. That is funny, but I do . Life is to be lived and enjoyed whatever the age or season., So I try to make each day count.

    Thanks for sending me here.

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  3. Alas, too many older people in my life were the types that didn’t want to talk about themselves or the past. And now, most of the people I interact with are younger. I think that older-younger interaction is an aspect of life that might bypass me….

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    1. It’s strange, that I’m becoming the older one now. It’s good that you have younger people interacting with you, as they don’t seem interested to do so here. You read my stories, and I’m older than you. πŸ˜‰ Not by a generation though.

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  4. I love to hear stories from “back in the day” too. When my dad first went to transitional care after breaking his hip, there was a woman there who would often sit with Dad at meal times. Her name was Shirley and she was in her nineties. She had fun stories of how she used to love to dance. Every day she would tell me, “I was quite a dancer, you know, when I was young.” She told me how, before they were married, she would dance with her husband’s friends, just to get his attention. And then soon he learned to be a better dancer because he wanted her all to himself. I’ve often wished I could go back there to volunteer or just to visit Shirley, but there just never seems to be enough time.

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    1. How great that you talked to Shirley and learned about her life. I know what you mean, about volunteering. I’ve often thought about it, but like you said … time.

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  5. Like you I always seemed to gravitate to people that were older than me. When I started my career, I was the young one, so it is strange now to be getting older – I tend to think that I’m a similar age to whoever I’m talking to – though that’s not possible now that some of them are so young πŸ™‚

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    1. Ha, yes I know what you mean, Andrea. I always think I’m a similar age to whomever I’m talking to, and have to remind myself that I’m not! Oy. πŸ˜‰ Nice to know someone else has experienced something similar. Thanks for sharing.

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  6. Oh yes! I love talking to anyone who’s been around long enough to to look back on their experiences with wise reflection. These people are more essential to a writer’s soul than a library full of research books.

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  7. A good lesson for all of us! I also enjoy being around older people, because most of them seem very comfortable in their skin and encourage others to be that way. If we embrace it, I think there is a sense of freedom as we age, when we finally accept ourselves and don’t waste our precious time left worrying too much about others.

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  8. Interesting, since our move we’re in the opposite demographic, we’re around more retired older people whereas previously our workplace based environment meant a mixed but often younger age bracket. To be honest I find it quite challenging as while the back-in=the-day stories are good many -but thankfully not all- of the older people we now interact with are fixed in their ways and don’t necessarily agree with ours, and while I don’t want to change them, I don’t want to change me either… I find the ongoing attention-inquisitiveness-counsel from people who have too much time on their hands to be quite tiresome!

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    1. I’ve not run into older people with too much time on their hands here. Most keep busy here if they are able. Maybe they need to join some activities by you. πŸ˜‰

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  9. Most of the people allow us to categorize them, they seen to be contented to fall into easy categories like age and gender. There are always a few who are fearless about knocking down all of the walls and barriers you construct, they are the people who tell you right up front they have no filter and go right on to tell stories as they laugh through their own words, louder than you do. We have no age limits, no barriers for the people who fill up life like a balloon needing air. Be one of those people, you have wonderful things to share.

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    1. This is such a nice thing to say, Charlie. Thank you very much. These blogs certainly are a good place to share, and I can read others stories as well.

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    1. Hi Anneli. Yes, as time goes by, we sure do start losing more people, both young and old. I enjoy hearing people’s stories while they are here. I think these blogs are a good way to learn about people too. πŸ™‚

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  10. As I get older I wish I would’ve taken more time to get to know older people who have crossed my paths. You’re right in that they have wonderful stories to share and a wealth of information for us. We tend to be very ageist in this society. Such a shame.

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    1. We do seem to be an ageist society. There is still time to get to know older people. I still can too, but like I said, it’s dwindling. Hope you’re recovered from the magic convention. πŸ˜€

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    1. That’s great that you talk to your aunt so often, Jill. Even when they start to forget, I’m sure they appreciate that someone is listening. Thank you for sharing this.

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