Saturday, November 19, 2011

On Being the Oldest

Several days ago, a friend's blog posed this question--Who is your oldest living relative?  I hadn't really given this much thought before, but upon reflection, I realized that I am the oldest living relative.  For awhile this was a depressing thought--reinforcing my mortality, that my days are numbered, but also realizing that I had no one more experienced to learn life's lessons from.  My mom was always such an inspiration, as was my dad, but they are gone.  I was sad.

Upon further reflection, I realized that maybe being the oldest wasn't so bad.  Growing up I relished being the oldest child.  I was the first to get to try things.   My folks let me do tasks before any of the siblings. I figured that I was so much wiser than all those little brothers and sisters.  So being oldest had its advantages.
Great grand-daughter
Now, being the oldest I have to learn from those younger.  That is challenging.  I have to examine the way they do things and compare it with how I do it.  Often, I find that the old ways are not necessarily the best.  I have to keep thinking young in order to be able to relate to all these youngsters, and in the process I am beginning to think that surely, the calendar is wrong; and I am not that old.
Being the oldest also carries a big responsibility.  I must be an example of how to endure life's trials.  I must show that maturity is a rewarding experience.  And I must be a guide for those who are traveling along life's bumpy road, a road that I have already traveled.

Today I am thankful for change

is the
Law of life
and those
who look only
to the past
or present
are certain
to miss
the future.

I made this collage several years ago and it hangs in my entrance hallway, but the message is as true today as it was back then.  This is a lesson I need to remember.


  1. Beautiful. Thanks for sharing. You have a great day.

  2. Being the oldest also means your the most mellowest too - which is a great thing - we don't have to be so uptight! Right. sandie

  3. Hi, Marti!
    I bet every "middle" child like me is going to suggest the oldest in the family read your post today!!!!! I like your advice to change our way of doing things. Love that collage. Thank you for your comment and visit!

    Bless you,

  4. You've become very wise in your new role. Very interesting thoughts you've shared.

  5. What a heartfelt, beautiful post (and blog design!). At this point, I do not know who my oldest living relative is. If we're talking direct line, that would have to be my daddy. All of my grandparents are gone now, with the last one dying March 2010.

    This shifting up a notch on the generation ladder is a bit disconcerting. As you said, it makes us take note of our own mortality.

    Your post is very thought-provoking. I'm so glad that I came to read it! Thank you also for commenting on my Random Thoughts blog blog. Have a wonderful weekend.

  6. What a wonderful way to look at things! Hope you're having a nice weekend!

  7. I'm the youngest in my direct family...but to my grandsons, I'm ancient. I think you should consider yourself not the oldest, but the matriarch. That's a great title to carry on your shoulders. Don't you think?

    As for the collage and's beautiful.

  8. Terrific subject for a post. Right on target for me. Whether you are the oldest, or the only, raised by an Aunt and Uncle, aging captures you attention. We do realize we will not be here as long as we have been. We do learn from the younger, and that is fun, as you say.

    I do not dwell on where I am in age, I work hard not to, it will not change a thing.

    Very nice poem.

    Thank you, for sharing.