When the young are old and the old are young

I believe in old age: to work and to grow old: this is what life expects of us. And then one day to be old and still be quite far from understanding everything – no, but to begin, but to love, but to suspect, but to be connected to what is remote and inexpressible, all the way up into the stars.*
(Rainer Maria Rilke)

At the age of twenty four, I found myself with hundreds of people to care for, many fifty or more years older than me. I am grateful for this experience. In their presence, I believe I determined many things about how I wanted to be when older and how I did not want to be.

One of the problems, though, was to try and still be young; I would be described as “a breath of fresh air,” but many didn’t want to leave the windows open for too long.

The wonder of life I hope I was discovering is that, in each other’s company, the young can be old and the old can be young – we learn from those who are ahead of us and we never forget to be explorers.

(*From Rainer Maria Rilke’s Letters on Life.)

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