Sternly Worded: Being Old and Being Young

Being Old

It is not easy reaching your declining years. Personally, I have been elderly since I reached high-school age, both in my knees and in spirit. I have felt a great affinity with old people since then, understanding their concerns and their aches and sometimes even their rambling stories.

And it feels like a pretty rough ride to me. Not only is your body and your mind deteriorating, but suddenly nothing makes sense to you anymore. Why is everyone so obsessed with these new-fangled white or black boxes? They don’t seem to be getting any smarter off them, and there seems to be a lot more sex and profanity out there because of them. Why are people always shoving on buses and trains? It’s not like we’ll get there any faster, clearly.

Why are people suddenly so worried about black people and foreigners? They were perfectly happy cleaning our streets and homes once upon a time, why don’t we just leave them be? And what about the ho-mo-sexuals? Don’t we still burn people like that? Goodness me, it’s hard to keep track.

Clearly being old is not what I imagined when I was (briefly) younger. I figured it would be like being fabulously wealthy – everybody waiting on you hand and foot, no working, people listening to your opinion, just living the high life! I was mistaken, my poppets; especially if we’re not putting savings in our super accounts, as we’re supposed to, it could be a sad, sad slope into a nursing home.

Sure you’ll get looked after, and get to relax and all that, but still – the validity of particular opinions change. Nobody even thinks Soviets are a danger anymore!

Being Young

On the other hand, being young is no picnic either, especially in terms of public view of your opinion. I feel a bit sorry for kids who appear on news programs because of some great achievement in writing or public speaking, or something similar. They’re paraded out like some kind of performing dog, we all applaud and think, how cute! Wish I’d been that clever when I was a nipper, and then we pat them on the head with a gift certificate. How demeaning! Age should be no determinant in achieving greatness, simply because when we were kids we weren’t interested in thinking further ahead than the next Pokémon episode. Passion is passion at any age – celebrate it, but don’t lose your shit like it’s the next Van Gogh.

Anyway, where was I, cupcakes? Ah yes…being young is all about hard work, it seems. How we judge those who aren’t studying, or working full time! The best compliment we say of people is ‘how much they push themselves, and never complain’. Why is complaining so maligned in this? We’re young, so bodily we have more energy, huh? Yet being young there’s so many other things we could and would rather be doing. So, we should be celebrating this shitty dichotomy?

I have decided a new young person aim – I’m going to either be a surfer’s girlfriend (but not an actual one coz I’m a crap swimmer) or be Catwoman. Sounds like a reasonably easy ride to me, plus the outfits are sick!


I regularly tear up every one I see. Their miniscule pieces read like the rambling ‘opinions’ people shout at each other in pubs. What a load of turd.

Elizabeth Stern