Perhaps growing older is a disgusting venture, but as one writer quipped, it’s better than the alternative. We can age with dignity if we simply allow each other the forgiveness for doing so. We can forgive memory gaps and welcome each day as a chance to yet live. Wrinkles never stopped a grin or an expression of love.
Writers took to age as if they’ve been living a long time to write about it.
The following are based on the May 9, 2019, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story about growing older.
PART I (10-minute read)
On Aging by Susan Sleggs
When I dream I am younger, energetic, and always thinner. There is excitement, intrigue, people I don’t recognize and fascinating cartoonlike experiences. There are animals, unlikely pets, a tiger on my bed, horses waiting at the window for an apple. I travel to exotic places, by sailboat, with a dark haired sexy partner. I go back to laughing about life’s entanglements and mistakes don’t happen. There is no pain, no memory loss, no pills to take, no hurt feelings, and no guilt for bad decisions. Then I awake. I am old and infirm, but still happy to be alive.
Hands Across the Years by Nancy Brady
An early memory of Mom was of her wearing a yellow, full-skirted seersucker dress to the zoo on a bright June day. Her dress rivaled the sun and epitomized a young mother full of energy. I was only five at the time.
Time aged us both, and suddenly, I was a mother myself. Visits to my parents brought both delight and sadness as I noticed her worsening rheumatoid arthritis. Her hands became more gnarled and disfigured through the years.
Now, I look at my own hands for signs of aging and wonder what my sons see when we visit.
From Mother to Son by Anne Goodwin
“Did you hear the one about the Japanese Emperor, Mamma? He ab-ab-ab …”
”Abrogated his responsibilities? Abandoned his subjects to his imbecile son?”
“Don’t you get tired, Mamma? All that travelling. Dressing up in your gladrags. Smiling at proles waving silly flags.”
“Of course I get tired. I’m ninety-three. But duty must trump human frailties. That’s what monarchy means.”
“Talking of The Donald, how can you …”
“There’s a man who tears up the rulebook …”
“As you could too, Mamma.”
“You know what I’d really like, Charles? If I could skip a generation. Give my grandson a turn.”
Tooting Marvellous by Ritu Bhathal
Mabel sat in her armchair and glanced around her surroundings.
Look at them all — old fogies.
She was, undoubtedly, at least ten years younger than them. Goodness knows why they’d put her in here. There must have been some mistake.
But that silver-haired Derek, sat across the room, he looked rather dashing. Someone to get to know and, maybe, help ease the boredom.
Shifting slightly in her chair, she felt a build up in her stomach, and a loud fart escaped.
At least there were some benefits to growing old…No embarrassment factor; she could toot to her heart’s content!
Photograph by Brendan Thomas
Peig sat in the middle, between her standing daughters, grandchildren clustered to her right, great granddaughter Nelly standing closest, touching her shoulder.
“Hold Nelly’s hand.”
No, her old arm wouldn’t bend. She remembered previous photographs, standing behind her Nonna, moving across the screen, left to right as she aged. Now promoted to the seat in front. She once was the light hand on the shoulder and missed it.
Photographs were boring now, no smokey flash to enliven, no wait before enjoying the outcome. “Will photographs exist when Nelly’s a Nonna?” she wondered, before approving the digital image.
Runner by Liz Husebye Hartmann
Sophie gazed down the long oaken table, half-light of a dozen candle sticks melted to shining copper holder. She squinted to blur the face drooping at table’s end.
Looking down, she studied the pattern of barn red, deep woad, and white twined with emerald leaves. Were these flowers from her homeland? She barely remembered weaving the runner for her trousseau…or the excited young girl she’d been. Her parents had been proud to boast her move from farm to manor as a wonderful match.
After so long, she’d adjusted her dreams. Looking up, she wondered what he thought of her.
Ada by Violet Lentz
Ada never visited the small wooden crosses that marked the sandy loam where her husband had interred the tiny corpses of the babes that would never suckle at her breast.
She never shed a tear at their passing, nor spoke the christian names they had been given.
She was a dutiful, if not loving wife, and reared the one child she was spared with a firm, yet caring hand.
She was on her deathbed the first and only time she ever told her husband, or her son that she loved them.
Just a moment after she realized it herself.
Growing Old by Pete Fanning
The boy sat against a tree, watching the tall grass in the field. The sky held a few clouds overhead, clouds in no hurry to do anything but laze in the blue. A soft breeze, a whisper between leaves, scurried through the stalks without order or sequence, weaving and bending and—
“Boy, what are you doing?”
The boy stood, eyes down, face flushed. “Nothing.”
“Nothing, huh? Must be nice. When you get older you won’t have time to watch the grass grow.”
The boy took one last look back, at the dancing grass, and promised to never grow old.
Menopause by tracey
A woman spends the latter half of her life in three phases:
Perimenopause – Characterized by so many different symptoms you are sure you are losing your mind. Coping mechanism is eating brownies while hiding in the pantry. You long to live alone in a mountain cabin.
Menopause – This phase has many false starts. Six months without a period and then you get surprised by your ‘friend’. Still eating brownies, you now wake up in the middle of the night and have to endure hours thinking about brownies.
Post-menopausal – The sun comes out again and you live happily ever after.
Being Seen by Sascha Darlington
She fell. Nothing was broken, something twisted, enough to keep her down. Down, like her brain, her emotions, her feelings.
When she started walking, nothing worked the same. Sadness poured through her veins instead of blood. Overnight, she felt…old.
Every morning she rose, thought, this will be the day to turn it all around, but she didn’t, couldn’t. It was like being mired in molasses.
Maybe the worst thing was: no one noticed. No one saw her struggles. No one hugged her or recognized pain that grew beyond physical.
On bad days, she evaluated ways to completely, finally disappear.
Generations by Floridaborne
Grandma loved our visits to her nursing home. From her window, she’d watch us find a place to park in a treeless lot.
She’d give us hugs and say, “Thank you for coming.”
Grandma listened to stories about our lives and once, when I turned 9, she said, “It seems like only yesterday I danced in the streets at the end of the Great War.”
My dad said, “Do we have to hear that story again?”
She looked down at her hands in the same way my father does now, as he waits for a family that never visits.
Aging by Dorinda Duclos
I’m living a wonderful life, though age has decreased my gait. Still, I manage to have some fun, I want to live it, before it’s too late. Life, is much too short, to leave it on the side of the road. The older I get, the more I know, take it all, before you’ve slowed.
Growing older is beautiful, I was put here, for a purpose. Until that is complete, I’ll remain here, on this surface. To live, laugh, love, play, until time is not a thought, then I’ll say I’m finally done, but… I haven’t lived for naught.
Wisdom Lines by Kerry E.B. Black
My friend calls them wisdom lines, wrinkles etched into the face. They’re experience trickled, as though life’s efforts leave sweaty tracks. Smiles, worry, and frowns use skin not to mar but to record.
Like marionettes, we’re often controlled by emotions, and as we age, this becomes evident in our countenance.
I think of tree trunks. They also begin smooth, and their texture grows course and tough with age. So, too, our exterior seasons to endure difficulties and challenges.
As I study the patina of my aging skin, I decide my life’s experiences make a pretty pattern. I’ve a good life.
Growing Older by Robert Kirkendall
“Grandma, tell us about the time before television.”
Grandma leaned back in her rocking chair nostalgically. “Ah yes, the Golden Age of Radio. Every night the family would get together and listen to Jack Benny, Bob Hope, or Edgar Bergen. Those were the days; good, clean wholesome entertainment.”
“Ever want to go back, Grandma?”
Grandma sat back up. “Hundreds of channels, On Demand, Hulu, Netflix, YouTube, podcasts…this is a new platinum age of entertainment. You really think I want to go back to listening to some old, tinny AM radio when everything was repressed and censored? Hell no!”
Old Bones (from Miracle of Ducks) by Charli Mills
“That bone is heavy as iron,” Ramona said, picking up a fossil from Danni’s workbench. Ramona no longer recognized the bone or knew its story. Nothing seemed familiar these days.
Ike put his arm around Ramona, grinning. “It’s old as you, Gran’ma.”
Danni was brushing glass shards, musing over what they might tell her about 19th century occupancy near her garden. She paused. “Ike, you know that’s a dinosaur bone.”
Ramona winked. “Well, if bones get heavier with age then that explains the numbers on the bathroom scale.”
Danni laughed. At least Ramona hadn’t forgotten her sense of humor.
Great-Grandmama’s Teeth by Norah Colvin
The sound like freight trains roaring through a tunnel assured Billy Great-Grandmama was asleep. He turned the doorknob ever so slowly, pushed the door gently and slipped into the darkened room. A chink of light bounced off the glass at the bedside. He daren’t breathe as he tiptoed over. Three quick whistles and he froze. The cavern with wibbly wobbly edges stretched wide. Would she wake? No, but better be quick. He lowered his fingers into the glass and withdrew his prize. All that was left was to fool the fairies and he’d buy his Mum that birthday cake.
Growing Older by Susan Zutautas
Joan was the lively one, with the most energy in her group of friends but lately it seemed she was starting to slow down.
Partying was no longer her choice for a fun evening. Now content to stay home and watch TV. She never dreamt she’d see this day come when she was younger.
Getting up in the morning some days were painful on her joints. She could no longer kneel on the floor let alone sit on the floor like she always did before. Afraid that if she got down, she’d never get back up.
Growing older sucks.
Aging Out by Deborah Lee
“You need to hustle. You can only stay in this program for two more weeks,” the placement advisor says.
Jane’s stomach plummets; her veins ice over. Fear. Cut loose. Again.
Shrug. “It’s the rule. If you’re still here after three months, we make way for others who are actively looking.”
Jane bristles. “I am active. I’m here at least twice a week. I’m applying, interviewing. I want a job. I need a job.” Tears press.
Eyes drop. Silence.
“Just wait,” Jane says, “until you’re fifty, with all the skills and triple the experience, and nobody wants you anymore.”
Aging Disgracefully by calmkate
Ageism is rife here, anyone over fifty can’t get employment. Considered over the hill, senile and well past their use by date!
Milly played on that, on being the poor old lady. She would speak forthrightly and con many into doing various tasks for her. If they were foolish she wouldn’t fight it, easier to go with the flow and make it work for her.
Although physically declining her grey matter was sharp as a tack. She attended several Church services, any who would provide a lift to and from as she found those Christians ripe for a con!
Growing Old by Hugh W. Roberts
She sat, watching the world around her getting older, her included. It had been a rather tough day and she disliked what ageing did to her.
I may be wiser, she thought, but I feel like I’m on my last few breaths before I leave this world again. I don’t want to go, but know it is time to move on.
As she sat back to take in the last sight of the world she loved, a door behind her opened and slammed loudly.
“Move over, Saturday. The day of rest has arrived. See you in a week’s time.”
PART II (10-minute read)
Aging by Roberta Eaton
Would you really want to live for longer? It is an appealing idea to slow down the aging process and retain the good looks and vibrant good health of your 20s, but there is a down side. Imagine having to work for double the amount of years. Instead of spending 40 years of your life caught up in the turmoil and intensity of paid employment, 80 years would be required. After that amount of time, even the most interesting job could become mundane. Maybe we would have to switch careers and go through learning and training years again. Ug!
Young at Heart by Di @ pensitivity101
Neil looked in the mirror, wondering who the old man was looking back at him.
He pulled his cheeks in, brushed his teeth then put them in his mouth, changing the shape of his lips. He smiled, a gleaming cosmetic whiteness in a rugged face.
It was an old face, accompanied by old joints.
Old age was a bind.
He could no longer do what he used to, or if he did, it took longer or he forgot half way through the task.
He flicked on the radio and Ol’ Blue Eyes sang out Young at Heart.
Birthday by Abhijit Ray
“So the big day is here!” asked a friend, “is a gala celebration on the cards?”
“Celebrate ageing!” Shefali wondered, “earlier a birthdays ushered in anticipation of impending adulthood and glimpses of independence; now birthdays have become just another number.”
Crossing thirty, Shefali wished she was a teenager again when life was more colorful and full of possibilities.
“Thud, thud, thud,” her daughter knocked on the door, “mom, everyone is waiting for you, hurry up!”
“Coming dear,” Shefali answered with a sigh, wore her smile and got ready to mingle, “another year, another day and another party.”
Becoming 100 by Kelley Farrell
The chair creaks under me, weighted by century old bones.
“Congrats! You just amaze me; to think of the things you’ve seen and done!”
I shift through the archives in attempt to place the young girl. She has the family blue eyes and my sweet Harry’s smile. A fanged man dominates her dark shirt.
“Old stories say witches and vampires drink blood to stay young.” Her face contorts uncomfortably as she slinks away, no doubt on her way to tell.
I can’t hide my sneer.
Maybe tonight I’ll run away. Surely it’s not too late to become a vampire.
Growing Old by galaxywanderer
Every grey hair, every new facial line, made her face a universal truth she didn’t want to. Contemplating one’s own mortality, is, after all, not a pleasant business, for anyone. In the ledger of regrets, the reds were the things she never found the time to do, rather than the ones she did. Watching the seasons go by had a poetic beauty that appealed to her. But the reality was a tad more daunting. To think that one day in the not so distant future, she will cease to exist was almost unfathomable, no matter how real it was.
Geiron (from Crater Lakes) by Saifun Hassam
Wild rhododendrons and berry shrubs were in full bloom spilling over the broken backyard fence of the Marta Jensen log homestead. Built over a hundred years ago, its west wall was tilting as tree roots grew under its foundations. Old oak and elm trees provided an enormous canopy of shade.
Geiron was a retired forest ranger and writing a book about the history of the Crater Lakes Biohabitat. Over time, Marta Jensen’s journal became a wellspring for him to write richly imagined novels of the pioneers, filled with his beautiful sketches of the Green Lake and Lizard Lake Craters.
Older . . . Wiser by Ann Edall-Robson
Tal and Hanna watched the leathery, old cowboy walk slowly to the middle of the corral and stop. It wasn’t long before the curious young horse moved towards him, neck outstretched, sniffing. The man never moved, his voice barely audible. Each day was the same with little additions introduced to the routine.
Over coffee one morning, Tal questioned the cowboy’s tactics.
“Why didn’t you just rope that colt and show him who was boss right from the get go?
A lazy smile creased the cowboy’s face.
“Son, there’s no use getting any older if you don’t get any wiser.”
Senescent Sighs by JulesPaige
Only once did Aubrey feel the terror of aging. It was when she, as the second child was going to have her own second child. Because it was when she was about two years old her own mother died. Those two years of her second child went by quicker than she thought. Bountiful happy memories were added to her life.
Without warning her second child became engaged. Where did the time go? The saddest thing though, to her was that child’s choice to be childless. We can only live our own lives and remember all the happiness we have.
To Be Old Again by The Dark Netizen
Has this road become longer, or have I become slower?
Definitely the latter. I really have become old.Look at me, can’t even manage to walk without my cane. I see the road is covered with petals from the tree. The same tree that only a few months ago, stood barren and cold in the winter. If only all us humans had that ability to shed our old skin and look young all over again. Well, I can’t speak for all the humans. But, I’m lucky I discovered the fountain of youth.
Now where did I keep that water-bottle?
Flashback by Jewel Ingalls
I’m so excited. Mommy promised to take me to the roller rink if I kept my room clean. My army men were off the floor everyday by the time she was home from work.
I think she’s pulling in now! I hurry to use the bathroom before we leave.
Weird. Mom’s voice is different. I wash my hands lifting my head. An old man stares back. White beard; wrinkled face.
A woman rounds the corner. “Arnie. You shouldn’t be walking around with no one home.”
The visiting nurse dried Arnie’s hands and led him back to his recliner.
A Year Old by Ruchira Khanna
“Sammy, blow the candles!” Christine said with delight.
Sammy claps her hands with joy and walks with ginger steps towards the table. She attempts to puff in the air as she pouts and her chest expands. Tired, she pauses with her lips contracted and then huffs the breath with all her might.
“Oh, Oh!” All shouted in the background as something blew across Sammy and onto the cake.
She forgot to remove her dentures before the blowout!
Needless of the incident, her grandchildren applauded Samantha who preferred to be addressed by her name had entered a three digit number.
Flash by Nancy Brady
Flash is our cat. Born in April, 2001, she is now eighteen years old. What that exactly equates to in feline years, we can only guess. According to the veterinarian, she is probably a centenarian.
Despite her geriatric status, Flash has always acted like a kitten. Even now, as she deals with minor tooth infections and cloudy vision, she still manages to act like the feisty little kitten she once was, racing and meowing through the house as if hellhounds are chasing her.
Flash has aged, but so have we. Her time is limited, but then so is ours.
Simple Things by D.G. Kaye
I dropped a fork, bent down, took a minute to get back up, but I did.
I went to the fridge, forgot what I went for, so I closed the door and saved on calories.
The days of putting on socks while hopping on one foot are long gone or I’d fall flat on my face. A chair now works fine.
Naps used to be looked at as punishment when young, now a treasured opportunity.
Days pass too quick as years progress.
More wrinkle cream, vitamins and brisk walks. Whatever it takes, I’m in.
Getting older aint for sissies.
‘It Always Seems To Be Breakfast’* by Geoff Le Pard
‘I suppose this death fixation of your mum’s is worrying about growing old.’
‘She’s a “do not go gentle” sort of person, actually. But having gone, gentle or otherwise, she wants some sort of certainty.
Like she wants to wear her flowery Doc Martens in her coffin.’
‘Maybe. She’s not said what else.’
‘Exactly. Though Dad had this saying: he’d get his own back on his kids and live to be a hundred.’
‘Didn’t make it, did he?’
‘No, though that didn’t stop him practicing just in case.’
‘Old sod. Got to love him, haven’t you?’
*said by a famous nonagenarian, when asked what change was the most notable now he was in his nineties
Growing Older by Janice Golay
Reminder: consult Dr. Einstein about “Time” and growing older. “Sir: Why does our perception of time change as we travel the average human lifespan? Is it subjective or is it ‘real’?
“For example, no longer a young filly eager to escape the corral but not yet ready for pasture, I’m falling very slowly between the cracks. Previously I moved easily, judged hastily. Now 70, my real-time movie is shot in slow motion. Slow is vexing when targeting destination X, exquisite while sauntering through a garden of fragrant June roses.
“Please reply before the rapidly approaching end of the film.”
Wisdom of the Ages by Jo Hawk
It was the time of Antiquity. The temple rose, constructed with care to mark a sacred spot. Tested by fire, its original purpose faded from consciences. Each day, the sun painted the walls in a soft luminous glow, recording the years, decades and millenniums. The Oculus recorded the words of countless stories and etched them on the dome’s geometric perfection.
Time evolved, morphing into something different. It became elastic and unimportant. Wisdom replaced foolish desires and meaningless acquisitions of petty trinkets. It distilled the truth, divulging the secret simplicity of being, seeing and feeling with no reservations, without judgment.
Towards the City by Joanne Fisher
As Aalen, Ashalla, and Vilja got nearer to the city they saw the land become more cultivated and ordered.
“How many years do your people usually live?” Ashalla asked.
“We don’t measure time the same way as you.” Aalen replied. “So I don’t know. As we get older our responsibilities increase. I helped protect the borders, so little was expected of me, but if I survived I would have eventually become an Elder of the village who were the sources of our wisdom and knowledge.”
Aalen looked out at the land. She knew that future was gone for her.
A Small Price to Pay by Sally Cronin
The old man stood to attention by the memorial in the village square, as he did each day during his afternoon constitutional. His knees were playing up, but nothing a stout stick couldn’t handle. Getting older had challenges, but unlike his drinking pals in the pub each evening, he knew aching joints were a small price to pay. As was his habit, he read the names on the brass plate aloud, remembering each one of his comrades who did not live to grow old. He wiped away a tear and continued his walk, feeling like the luckiest man alive.
Gramma Dear by Chelsea Owens
Flowered pots and colored notes
fly gently on the walls;
Whose smiling, standing stick-men
Wave out from rainbowed pen?
Wrinkled cheeks and vacant eyes
of startling, once-clear blue;
What’s inside now, Oh Gramma dear?
What’s cloudy and what’s clear?
Gnarled hands and anxious grip
that once held mine with love;
Whose fingers do you think these are?
Whose hand felt from afar?
Silent words and down-turned mouth
mar lips that laughed and spoke;
What joke or story would you say?
What do you think today?
Who are these strangers milling round;
Where is the you
AGE – One Letter Short of A Four Letter Word by M J Mallon
AGE IS ONE LETTER SHORT OF A
FOUR LETTER WORD!
Desire’s three syllables entwined in kinky Karma Sutra positions,
Movement’s six hundred plus muscles belly aching to stop,
Career crises simplified, await twin oldies bus pass, plus pensions,
Adolescent giggles groan as multiple false teeth fracture,
Luscious locks lost greying in gazillions.
Six pack? Remember that? Welcome new look naughty pot belly,
Two elastic boobs yonder yoga style yodeling the floor,
Face it fellows, we’re on
Until… endless sleep of blessed youth,
SLEEP TO US ALL!!!
How Did I Get This Old by Susan Zutautas
Kids are grown and gone
Bones are aching
Back is breaking
Arthritis settling in
Many memories to enjoy
When I can remember them
Now I’m squirrely
But writing is my thing
Gray hairs are abundant
Get new ones every day
Always looking forward
To the month of May
Sight is getting worse
I really think the eye doctor
Put on me, a curse
Look forward to my naps
Each day at three
If I didn’t have them
I’d be cranky as can be
So, let it be told
I am old
A Dogs Perspective Of Growing Old by Susan Zutautas
When I was a puppy, we’d play every day
Now that I’ve grown older, lie down is what you say
I’d still love to fetch a ball even though I’m ten
A few years ago, I was your best friend
I hope I’m not too old for you, and you get a younger pup
Get rid of me because I’m old and you think I’m fed-up
Dogs do grow older every day
Please oh please don’t send me away
I have arthritis in my hips, but I still want to play
Let’s go outside and have some fun today
Growing Old by Anita Dawes
I don’t look in the mirror these days, because there is a road map where my face used to be.
Time makes strange marks on all of us, some you cannot see.
From my window, I have watched my neighbours grow old. Two that used to walk to town, now in wheelchairs.
One used to pedal his bike everywhere, now uses a stroller.
We are shrinking back to childhood.
Others I have watched through nine months, waiting to produce new life. Now that same child walks beside her mother on her way to school.
I watch life go by…
At The Mall by Joanne Fisher
my niece is the grand display
at the Westfield food court
delighting us all
with her furtive glances
and wide open grins
it’s my birthday so
I’m being treated to lunch
and opted for Chinese
my sister and I ponder
we are getting older
I tell her
I thought by now
I would have found
and now it’s getting
on your birthday
my niece smiles and giggles
saying things in gibberish
that only Carmela can
she holds her tiny hand
outstretched to us
a mostly eaten cracker
with marmite on top
A Couple of Old Farts Flatulatin’ by Bill Engleson
“Then there was that fella…”
“What fella, Whit?”
“Ya know, Stewie…that European fella. It was on the news. Went to court. Changed his birth year. Made hisself twenty years younger.”
“Ya can do that?”
“Yup. Over there in Europe, you’re only as old as your paperwork.”
“Ain’t that a wonder. Might give it a try, myself. Wouldn’t mind gettin’ an extra twenty years.”
“Don’t quite work that way, Stewie. Yeah, you’re twenty years younger on paper…but nothin’s really changed. You’re still as old as you’ve always been.”
“That don’t seem fair.”
“Life’s chock full of weird wrinkles, ain’t it.”
FINAL WORD FROM OUR YARNIST
Clodhopper by D. Avery
“Jist ‘cause D. Avery’s been ridin’ herd on her family we git left behind? Tellin’ ya Pal, we gotta part ways with her, do our own writin’. We cain’t always be waitin’ on her. I ain’t gittin’ any younger.”
“Good thing, ‘cause the prompt’s ‘bout growin’ older. Ok, Kid, what’s yer idea fer the prompt?”
“Uh, well, nuthin’ yet.”
“Bless ya agin. Jeez.”
“No, Kid, haiku. Like this:
Bunkhouse floor dirt tracked
Every clod has a story
Time swept clean away”
“That ain’t haiku, Pal.”
“Naw, that there’s buckaroo-ku.”
“Yer cuckoo, Kid.”