What’s it like to be old?

“What’s it like to be old Grandad?” My granddaughter’s question startled me and I wondered what my reply should be. Before I could think of an answer the little girl had more questions: “Where does God live? Where does the sun go at night? Where do the stars go in the daytime?” Without waiting for an answer to any of the questions, she skipped off to explore new mysteries in her exciting and ever changing world.

Left alone I reflected on the first question that my Grandee had asked me. What is it like to be old?  I had never really given any serious thought to what life is like in the Third Age, but now I began to think about the things that old age had brought, and the treasures that a bountiful Lord had bestowed on me. But all around me things have changed. Nobody is interested in what the world was like in my day. Many old friends have departed this life, and the number of confidantes, with whom one can share past experiences and memories, diminishes at an alarming rate. Yesterday was yesterday, and it has gone and nobody cares a whit.

Life today is a mad house; for the more mature section of the community, (that’s us), modern technology is a mystery, iPods, computers, kindles, cell phones, YouBook, Face tube, are a closed book, And the young people speak what seems to be a foreign language while they text, God knows who, at blinding speed, or twitter on a social networking site (whatever that is!) Take for instance these words that I heard a young person using the other day: Minger, Hench, Beast, Reem, Bang Tidy, and just for good measure: WTF, OMG, and LOL! What is it that they are saying? And consider this example of the New Speak headline that screamed at me from a magazine recently “Sync your abbs to your ICloud “!  What does it mean? God alone knows. But who in their right mind would want to sync their abbs to anything? A profound mystery that I will never unravel! Like the man said: “Youth is too precious to be wasted on the young”

The joys of a rapidly shrinking life expectancy abound. The pleasure of an afternoon kip in the sun -drenched easy chair. The serenity of a spring day, the sound of bird-song at dawn’s first light; the sight of the first daffodil thrusting an enquiring head from the earth’s warming blanket. The splendour of the earth’s spring awakening, and the glorious colours that abound, when Nature, with her subtle brush, creates the glorious canvas of autumn tonings. Drink in the beauty of the changes that mark the passing seasons. Think too of the sound of a child’s laughter, and wrap yourself in the warm memories of yesteryear. These are exquisite joys to be nourished, and held close to the heart, as one begins to really appreciate nature’s joyful bounty.

Put aside the drawbacks and disappointments that old age inevitably brings, and relish the joys that now fill your life. Drink in these pleasures as a thirsty person might gulp down an ice-cold drink!  Life continues to be a joyful celebration of our earthly existence, no matter that we never find an answer to the age old question, the question that man has asked since the dawn of time: “what’s it all about anyway?”

So what is it like to be old, what is the reality of old age? Where does God live?  Where does the sun go at night? Where do the stars go in the daytime?”  Man asks the questions but often never finds the answers. But what does it matter?Life is what you want it to be; it might be Minger; but it is Bang Tidy! So “Sync your abbs” and enjoy! LOL!

Written by Bill Conroy

Bill Conroy is a Tauranga based freelance writer and poet with a particular interest in historical non-fiction and composing WW1 poetry.

Read more from Bill on GrownUps here.