Melissa, 41 yrs

Apr 29th 2022

“What scares me the most about growing old is loss. The older we get, the more loss we experience. I’m not just worried about the loss of people, but the loss of pets too. I have a dog who is 12 years old and I’m very attached to her, but she’s also getting older. Thinking about having to deal with her loss is very troubling to me. Even loss of friendships. I think I’m just worried about losing bonds in my life. The plus side is that you’re gaining as well. My brother’s family has a baby due soon, so this will be a new human that I will develop a bond with, which is so exciting. I think it’s always worth it to build these bonds. Life would be so sad if you didn’t have bonds strong enough to evoke loss and sadness when they’re gone.

My favourite memory with an older adult is with my grandfather. He loved music and was brilliant when it came to hearing a song and then playing it by ear. He would teach me all kinds of things and I would share my own learnings from music class. It was a beautiful exchange. This is why we need to value older people in our society, we have so much to learn from each other. I learned to play the accordion with my grandfather so that we had something in common. I still have his accordion; I’m terrible at it, but when I play a song, it brings lots of happy memories of him.

I think society needs to look toward cultures that have a greater reverence for all members of their communities, including older adults. We need to recognize that age is a factor, in addition to ethnicity and gender, and so on, in creating diverse communities. I hire young people who are under 30 because they bring so much richness and innovation to my projects. But I also work with older adults because they bring a lot of experience and perspective. I think including people of different ages make communities, projects, and decision-making even stronger.

Aging shouldn’t be scary. At the end of the day, older adults are just regular people, doing their thing, who happen to be older.”