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They say we can’t choose the face we’re born with but we can choose the face we grow old with.

My friend Helga and I have lots of discussions about the things that are really important in life.

I have this theory that the older we get, the more intense our quirks become.kindface

Say for instance, a young person is a neat freak. Everything has its place and every place has its things.

As this person ages they become almost neurotic about neatness.

Helga feels that the older we get the less tolerant we become and she points back to when we first met to illustrate this.

I hope she’s wrong but more on that in a moment.


I’ve known Helga for 27 years. We met at Pinantan Lake, just outside Kamloops, British Columbia.

Pinantan is a small community, and when I lived there in the 80’s it had a population of about 300 folks, including chickens and other livestock.

Just the other day we were talking about how easy-going we were in our early 20’s.

If one of us was cooking dinner when the other came over (unannounced) we would just set another place at the table.

Or if one wasn’t awake yet when we went to the other’s place, the visiting one would just put on a pot of coffee, sit right down at the table and wait for the other to wake up.

That’s right; we didn’t lock our doors back then!

This is the house we rented for $150 per month.

This is the house I lived in and rented for $150 per month.

If a neighbour needed help, we would just drop everything and head over there.

(Or at the very least volunteer our significant other)

We didn’t pay much attention to how others dressed, kept their homes, raised their children or anything else.

We just accepted people for who they were.

We had a certain laissez-faire attitude about life.

There wasn’t a lot of money in our community but we had each other and we shared our resources.

I had laying hens, someone else had a milking cow, we went out in groups to get firewood for the winter, we baked bread and cooked all our meals and made all our baked goods from scratch. And oh so many fun potlucks!

They were simpler times and we were happy.

I’m not sure how I would feel about stumbling out of my bedroom to find someone waiting for me in my apartment now – even with coffee!

What I do know is that I remember our days there with great fondness. People took each other at face value and we didn’t waste a moment worrying about whether someone was playing us or not.


For the last decade or so, my heart has been longing for that kind of simplicity again. I still look for the good in people but I’ve been a little slower to trust, a tad sceptical at times and downright inhospitable at other times.

I hope my theory is true. I hope that who I was at heart when I was younger will intensify as I get older. Because I would rather trust people and be burned than be suspicious of every person I encounter.

But maybe the truth is simpler. Maybe I just have to choose to be a certain way.

Maybe theories are just that – theories.


I want to grow old with a kind face, with eyes that are crinkled with laugh lines and smile lines deeply carved around my mouth.

I don’t want to be a crotchety old fart.

How about you?