New Old People

Isn’t life amazing?

This morning I read an article in the Washington Post about an A.I. bot that came up with a detailed promotional strategy (including artwork for a logo, in-depth social media posts, shooting script for a video, and ad copy) for a brand-new product in 30 MINUTES!


Back in my day an assignment like that would have taken a team of real flesh-and-blood people an entire week to complete.

And that story is just a small sample of the daily parade of amazingness we each can bear witness to. From space telescopes revealing new, heretofore unseen parts of the universe, to groundbreaking micro-surgery techniques, to hypersonic weapons of war, to miraculous devices that convert ocean waves into energy. We are literally swimming in an ocean of awesomeness here in A.D. 2023.

But do you know what really fascinates me as I glance around my world today? Today I find I am most astonished at the magical transformation of OLD PEOPLE!

I am not sure how or when this happened. But the facts are undeniable. 

Back when I was a young sprout, old people were just… OLD! For starters, they smelled funny. They doddered along with weak, shuffling gaits. They were hard of hearing (“What’s that you say, sonny?? You’ll have to speak up!”). They certainly weren’t “hip” to anything new and cutting edge. They held rigid, outdated views on virtually EVERY topic from politics to religion to morality to professional sports to education to child-rearing.

Back then it seemed that old people (and I am sure I defined “old” as anyone over the age of 35) seemed to stand FOR everything I stood AGAINST

Here of late, however, old people have undergone some kind of mystical transformation.

I know this because of the volunteer work I do with an organization here in Fort Collins called SAINT. SAINT is an acronym that stands for Senior Adults INeed of Transportation.

The way it works is very simple. I slap a SAINT magnet on the side of my car and go pick up Gladys and take her to her sewing class, or Roscoe to the Senior Center, or Katherine to the grocery store, and then later, bring them each back home. 

All free of charge. 

Along the way (While listening to driving instructions from my kindly GPS lady) we talk. 

And would you believe it? These old people are REALLY INTERESTING! They are SHARP! They are UP TO DATE on issues and events in the world. They have FASCINATING life stories. They are FUNNY! They are KIND (well, except for that one guy who did not stop moaning and complaining from the moment I picked him up to the moment I dropped him off. But that was one guy in – by now – hundreds of SAINT clients I’ve driven).

These old people are ANALYTICAL. They are CREATIVE PROBLEM-SOLVERS! They are GENEROUS. They are fun to be around!

I mean, sure, several of them still shuffle painfully along with the aid of walkers. On more than one occasion I have had to accommodate an oxygen bottle in my car or help them load and unload groceries. And yes, aches, pains, and ailments are always a popular topic of in-car conversation.

The point is, I am fascinated by the exponential rate of transformation that has happened to old people over the last, say, thirty years. Of course, it might be that Fort Collins Colorado has an unusually high-quality crop of senior citizens. But somehow, I just don’t think that is the case.

How did that happen?

Isn’t life amazing?

Abundant blessings;

15 Responses to “New Old People”

  1. March 27, 2023 at 6:18 pm

    Thanks Russell. I think you’re right. I also think that I have changed too since I retired. I believe that people – all people – are interesting in a way that I didn’t appreciate so deeply before. I want to hear their stories, and I want to understand what makes them tick… and I find they all have something to teach me!

  2. 4 garycoffman
    March 27, 2023 at 6:58 pm

    Malcolmsmusingscom gets it. It’s exactly the same as that miracle in which our parents gained so many smarts between our teenage years and our young adulthood.

  3. March 27, 2023 at 10:51 pm

    This gives me hope, Russell! LOL! First, thank YOU for your work with SAINT! What a blessing you are to so many! Just two weeks ago, I was sharing with a friend how I’d LOVE driving senior adults to and from appointments! I LOVE BEING AROUND OLD PEOPLE (are you laughing?). I’m an old soul. Being around older people has been my M.O. since I was 18. I learn so much. Your observations and mine are similar. I remind my parents, just as today, that they really need to jump on some technology bandwagons that would make their lives much more accessible. Dad is only 81; however, due to health issues, hearing, and eyesight, he is reluctant to make some changes. Yet, he is so SMART, FUNNY, and CAPABLE! In Branson, the “old people” were the most fun! We’re living in the best times, Russell (isn’t that said every year? lol). With as much advancement as we’ve made to A.D. 2023, I PLAN ON BEING A HIGH CROP SENIOR! Yay! God is so good!

    • March 28, 2023 at 1:24 am

      I agree! Old people have a wealth of stories from decades of living through historical events, life’s crazy twists and turns, amazing epiphanies, and wisdom that only comes from living life.

    • March 28, 2023 at 5:13 pm

      Karla; AMEN to all of that! And I am sure you caught that I was being totally tongue in cheek when I suggested that old people have somehow changed. We both know they have always been – for the most part – smart, funny, creative, capable, generous, compassionate people. They (we) carry wisdom the rest of the world desperately needs to hear. Thank you for all you do to maintain your connections to this vital part of our world.


      • March 29, 2023 at 12:17 pm

        I totally get it, Russell! I’m always “reading” and understanding your messages! Especially now that …ahem…you’re “old”. Lol. But then again I’m old to some! Tee hee. I’ll keep trying to stay connected and I pray for you and yours as we continue your work for HIS Kingdom and making a difference in lives around you!

  4. March 28, 2023 at 1:20 am

    When I taught high school speech, I took my 9th grade class to a nursing home to present poems, songs, and just spend time with the residents. I advised them not to talk about the recent past, since it probably wasn’t as memorable (or remembered) as the historical events they observed or even were a part of, and they did that. A couple of the boys were genuinely excited to meet a WW II vet, and one girl came to me afterwards to tell me she had discovered that she LOVED old people and wanted to work with them. ❤️

  5. March 28, 2023 at 6:29 am

    I don’t wish to rain on your parade, but don’t you think that it’s possible that it’s your perception of old people that may have changed, now that you’re no longer a youngster? I suspect that the old farts of yore were just as interesting as today’s crop, but perhaps you couldn’t see it then; the interests of old fogeys and sprouts rarely collide.

    As for the AI ‘advancements’: personally, I think that it’s incredibly important that we be very careful what we wish for.

    • March 28, 2023 at 1:58 pm

      I think you’ve hit the proverbial nail squarely on the head. It was clearly not clear that I was writing with tongue planted firmly in cheek. I am certain that the “useless, worn out old geezers” of my youth were just as wise, funny, creative, and astute as the seniors of today. I just didn’t have the eyes to see that.

  6. April 9, 2023 at 12:48 am

    The “transformation of old” might explain why I feel like I’m only 25. 😉

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