Thursday, 8 February 2018

It’s Official, I’m Old

Opening the five-bar gate from the field into the castle ground to take Millie for a much truncated walk on one of these very cold afternoons we’ve been having recently I heard what sounded like a whole school class of small children, all chattering at the tops of their voices. I was wondering what the teacher could be thinking of to bring them out into the bitter wind of the shelterless castle grounds on such a day. Small children without diligent supervision are notorious for leaving their coats unbuttoned and losing gloves and hats.

I slid the gate catch back into its groove, turned round and started the climb up the hill, Millie preceding me at her very sedate pace. At the same time the ‘school class’ appeared on the path at right angles above me, i.e., one mum holding the hand of a very small child, one small and very lively spaniel, and a curly-haired, blond cherub bombing along ahead, perhaps between three and four years old. It was he who was making the racket. His treble pierced my eardrums. He saw Millie and a high-pitched squeal greeted her dignified presence.

“O look Mum, another dog. It must be really old. And there’s a lady with him. She's really old too.” That was me assessed, judged and dismissed, all in the space of seconds. The castle called. But did he have to be quite as sharp-eyed as he was? After all, I was wrapped in a Michelin man coat and furred hood and almost invisible.

Mum turned and giggled with embarrassment.

Out of the mouths of babes comes wisdom and truth.

30 comments:

  1. Do you remember how you perceived your teachers, relatives, neighbours etc. when you were young? You would not have shouted out loud that they were "old", but I guess you thought it, consciously or not.
    In 6 weeks, I shall be 50 - that is old in the eyes of many :-)

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  2. I remember when 35 sounded old. Maybe he thought you were 35! :)

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  3. Oh how true ... to those young eyes! Blame Millie ... he probably would have ignored you - perhaps even worse? - if Millie hadn't been with you.

    Having just turned 70, then yesterday been at a 90th birthday ... and someone saying you must feel young - then I considered the rest of this family, that I'm now associated with, and thought sadly still 'old' in some eyes ... 3 above me, 4 below me in the 50 age group, and 5 from 20 down. Still 'tis your ability to hold your own ... and I bet the family would enjoy a chat with you ... perhaps in the warming weather. I surprised the 90 year old the other day with some pearls of wisdom - she was a bit put out! Ah well ... the vagaries of life - just let's continue to enjoy ourselves. I gather there's snow ... here on my Island thankfully it's warmed up, while the interior is suffering some more freeze and snow ...

    Cheers Hilary

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  4. Well then. I shop at a grocery co-op (where they have a plethora of discounts for various and sundry) and am constantly asked if I have a discount with the store. Hmm. I've not arrived on my bicycle, am not a senior citizen, etc., so I can't possibly think what it is my disc. should be for. I think they think I'm over fifty. Not yet, sonny!

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  5. The mother should indeed be embarassed. The child has misbehaved.

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  6. And certainly yes we are old. I am proud to claim that mantle, a privilege denied to so many of my dear ones.

    And what the hell is wrong with saying we're old? Going all coy and saying I feel 30 or 40. Feel that age! Proclaim it! Have little children announce it for us!

    The anti-ageism needs to be discouraged. It affects our very lives.

    XO
    WWW

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  7. If that young boy is lucky, he will live to be called old someday also.

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    1. If I could get my hands on the bad mannered little so and so living to grow old might not be an option.

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  8. A niece said to my partner, how come your face is crinkly?

    Another niece said to her one of her two mums, how come you are so big and J is not?

    They can be cruel at times, but also brutally honest.

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  9. I remember a small kid calling me an old lady several years ago, when I was still in my forties!

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  10. I think Mum needs to take her child aside and have a little chat about rudeness. Curious that old should be such a focus for him, actually.

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  11. That mother should have done more than giggle with embarrassment...and you are not old...yet!

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  12. Ah, yes, we are old. But in a young person's eyes. In my eyes I am rich with memories and experiences and intelligence. It has taken years to get here,but it was worth it.

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  13. I remember a time when I thought all adults were old. Now that I'm old, I can see there are degrees. As for rudeness, no offense meant, none taken. A child that small is only making observations. It is we adults who make a distinction between being our age (or girth, etc.) and accepting it. Spending a good deal of time amongst small children has lifted the burden of adulthood a bit, so it's easier not to be offended by their view of the world. :)

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  14. What Pauline said! Besides, would you want to be his age in this shaky, modern world?

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  15. Gosh! I don't think this child was at all rude, given his age. He'll learn soon enough to filter his comments (or maybe he'll be one of those who never does), and in any case, we're all guilty of misusing the word. I agree with the psychologist, whose name and recent article I can't now find, who thinks that 'old' should not be applied to a person until they are truly at the end of their life. And yes, Pauline has the best comment here!

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  16. Unlike adults, children don't judge; they observe. "That lady's old" is no different than "the sky's blue" or "that man walks funny." In time, the child will learn about tact, politeness, and circumspection, but there wasn't a thing wrong with his response. Besides, from his perspective, a thirty-year-old would be "old," just as some of my forty-year-old friends seem young to me.

    There certainly are some interesting comments here about the child's response.

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  17. To a child that age anyone over 10 is ancient. Come to that anyone over 30 is ancient when you're 23. Anyone older than me is old.

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  18. But I remember I thought my parents were so old when I was little and they were in their 20s and 30s!! ;)

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  19. I agree with you, Friko, "it's official. I'm old". And it really doesn't bother me. My friend and I had this discussion not that long ago. She says "Eighty is old, not seventies". I told her that I know we're old as I can see it in the eyes of young people. She asked what I meant... and I couldn't explain... only that it's obvious. As for the child's comments, he was simply stating the obvious. Eventually he'll learn that it isn't always a good thing to do, but no offense was meant.

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  20. ... welcome to da club, friend Friko (and Millie) ... smiles ... Love, cat.

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  21. my grandkid use to tell me all the time that I was old. I would reply that if they were lucky, they'd get to be old too. it's all relative. we were sitting across from the son of a deceased friend of ours and his wife telling them about our night of rescue from the flood and how we were stranded for a while at night and there were some really old people there with us. I'm sure to the 30 somethings sitting with us, we (in our 60s) were the 'old people' but to us, it wasn't us but the ones in their 80s.

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  22. It happens to me all the time.Clients tell me that they need to get home to support their aging parents who 'are old and might not be around much longer'. The parents are invariably younger than I.

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  23. Oh yes, the mouth of babes. She should have reminded him that you are only as old as you feel!

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  24. Dear Friko, I have just spent quite some time reading through the posts you've written since your return to blogging. May I say that your writing is as splendid as ever, and the range of topics is so very engaging.

    I have very recently and belatedly posted a New Year's catch up blog. During my absence many things happened to me and around me. I kept finding that the longer I waited to do some writing, the wait just became longer and longer. Instagram has an immediacy that I do like, but to be able to write as you do would be a dream of mine.

    Tomorrow I will begin a short visit back to the part of Virginia where I grew up. The reason for the journey is a sad one, and I expect many challenging surprises during my stay. I may begin a diary, but perhaps not.

    You see...I have retained the tendency to ramble.

    It is truly grand to know that when I get back home to NYC, I just might find more marvelous Friko posts to inspire me. xo

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  25. als ich so klein war, fand ich schon einen dreissigjährigen "very old" und man ist nur so alt, wie man sich fühlt. ich kenne eine achtzigjährige frau, die noch heute mehrere stunden täglich spazieren geht. sie hat ein paar falten, aber ihre augen glänzen jugendlich. für mich ist und bleibt sie jung. ein freund meines bruders dagegen ist etwa 8 jahre jünger als ich, isst und trinkt viel und scheint sich kaum zu bewegen. mein gott ist er alt geworden, habe ich einmal gedacht. das ist meine meinung und ein kind sagt wohl klar, was es denkt, aber ist seine welt denn nicht - auch? - eine märchenwelt?! grüsse von renée ;-)

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