Dear Old People, yes old people. We love you. We want you. We need you. And by old people I mean people older than me. People older than you. People younger than me, who are older than someone. Anyone, older than someone else. There is just something about a person who has been there before, who’s gone down the road I’m staring down. That road looks long from here. It looks a little dark. I’m not sure what’s around the corners, but you are. You know. Because you’ve been down this road. You know where the bumps are. You know what I might run into around the corner, that thing I wasn’t looking for, I didn’t expect. You see, the thing is, I’m kinda scared. I don’t really like to admit it because ya know, I’m an adult for goodness sake. I’m supposed to be confident, to act like I’ve got it together, like I’ve got this thing in the bag. I don’t really want anyone to know, especially you. Because I really care what you think. I might not show it. In fact, sometimes I might even act like I don’t need you, because, well, I want you to think I don’t. I want you to be proud of me and how I handle all these bumps and curves, but the truth is I need you more than you know.
Sometimes I need your advice. I need you to tell me what I should do, or at least, gently give me some ideas. Because sometimes I really have no idea what to do next. Sometimes I need to hear you say you see my hard work and you’re proud of it, because sometimes it feels like no one is, and the kid in me still wants that grown ups approval. Sometimes I just want to hang out with you. Your presence is comforting. Sometimes I just want to tell you stories. And I just want you to listen to them. Sometimes I just want to hear your stories, even when I’ve heard them before. When life is hard and lonely, there is something about being with you that makes it feel less so.
You may feel old. You may feel obsolete. But I promise you aren’t. We love you. We want you. We actually really need you. But just like a child we don’t know how to ask, “Hey, will you be my friend?” Your experience and knowledge intimidates and us young people are still trying to prove ourselves. Vulnerability might not be our strongest point and fear of rejection from those we revere often wins. So we might not say it, but truly, we really do need you. Our kids need you. Our marriages needs you. Our divorces needs you. Our disabilities needs you. Our work burdens needs you. Some of us don’t have our old people anymore. They’ve passed. Some of us have old people who live far. Some of us have old people who are estranged, who have rejected us. Whether you are our parents, grandparents, aunts or uncles, neighbors, or fellow church goers, please, old people, know that we need you, all of you. We want you. We love you. And more than anything, we need you. So if you are old people, like older than someone, reach out to that someone near you who’s younger. I can’t tell you (and they probably won’t either) just how much we need you.