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Youngers and Olders

Updated on December 6, 2015

Old and New

Have you ever sat down at the dinner table with your extended family? And as you begin eating your meal, you hear the babies of the family squealing with delight at the same exact time as the grandparents laughing and appreciating the smallest details of the stories that are told as the meal progresses. As Thanksgiving just passed, I find myself thinking about this more than ever. I have visited nursing homes a time or two during my high school career as community service, and it was only then that I began to notice the similarities between the two age groups.

On one hand, I can remember my youngest cousin, now at the age of six, would sit in her high chair at the end of the dinner table, banging on the tray in front of her as she was signaling to her mother that she was requesting more of whatever she was eating. After being served whatever it was that was put in front of her, a smile of satisfaction came across her face, almost as if to say “Thank you!”

She always wanted to be part of the conversation that occurred right before her very eyes at the table. She would pitch in a little shriek of laughter here and there whenever something appeared to be funny through the eyes of a child. But at the end of the night as we exchanged our goodbyes, the cutest moment had to be a simple but sweet hug back from the baby of the family to each one of us.

Much like my cousin in her high chair, some of the elderly people that I met at the nursing homes would make their requests for food known to their providers, just in a different way. Baby hands pounding against their high chair is more socially acceptable than someone of age 90 banging at the table of their resting home. They would, however, give you that same grin of gratefulness upon receiving the food that they had wanted, just like the babies in their high chairs.

As people age, it is a well known fact that eventually their memory is impacted as well as their ability to hear or have the skills of advanced thinking of what to say next. So just like the younger ones, the older ones also throw in a few words and giggles here and there, as they try their very hardest to keep up and maintain participation in the given conversation.

Ironically, the moments and phrases that occur during these dinner time interactions hit the funny bones of both the little ones and the big ones alike. Just as the dinner conversations entertain people of all age groups, so do many other small activities and events happening from day to day. It’s not necessarily just babies that the elderly can relate to, but the age group ranging from infant to about four or five.

Essentially the ages of people both young and old that aren’t in school tend to share the most similarities. It is only the days when you are not in school that you start to see the world through different eyes. Everything you see and experience starts to become the most extraordinary possible thing to ever lay your eyes on or that your ears have ever been graced with. For the youngers, it may be the first time ever seeing or hearing the matter at hand. For the olders, it may be the last.

You never really know in any given situation as to when something of that sort could ever happen again. In other words, you can’t really take anything in life for granted. In scarier words, everything that you have can be gone at any moment, taken away from you forever. So in my humble opinion, I believe that you should live life in the moment, as if you were experiencing it for both the first and last time. Your quality of life is bound to change; if you’re anything like me, you’re waiting for something in the world to change, something marvelous to come your way. It’s almost as if once something changes for the better, your life will magically shift into a whirlwind of happiness and bliss.

Unfortunately, that’s not how it works. The way I see it, something horrible takes place, we process it, fix it and move on, followed promptly by another horrible something that will quickly take place.It gets bad before it gets good. Another concept that I learned was that if you start to see the world through adult eyes, life takes on a whole new meaning. It gets boring and stressful and nine out of ten times, it’s not as fun. However, if we look at everything through the eyes of a child, we can at least count on everything seeming wonderful, even if that isn’t the case. Not to say that the outlook of a child will magically fix our problems, but it will make everything that much better with a newfound sense of wonder.

I’ll try if you try, reader. In every situation that arises, I encourage you to live it up and soak in every moment that is given to you. And I challenge you to try to see the most stressful of situations through the lens of a child. There’s bound to be something new that you may find if you open your mind. Think of a different outlook on life, that of an elderly person or a young children. I guess that’s just like the circle of life; you start young with a great sense of wonder, you grow up with turbulence and joys, then you grow older and find a different sense of wonder.


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    • denise.w.anderson profile image

      Denise W Anderson 2 years ago from Bismarck, North Dakota

      Both of my parents are at this stage where they are needing caregivers. It is hard to watch them regress and not remember some of the basic things that happened in their past. We love them, and yet, our ability to be patient during this time is what allows them to feel that unconditional love that they so strongly crave.