Return to Sender: The Gift of Old Age

Ifeanacho MaryAnn
9 min readOct 23, 2023

I have an immense love for my culture — the Igbo culture. We have beautiful stories, cosmologies, adages, and turns of phrase. Unfortunately, vast chunks of my culture have been lost due to a lack of pen-to-paper documentation and the use of word-of-mouth as the primary method of knowledge transmission. I was venting about this to a friend on a cold Saturday evening two years ago.

‘I honestly wish they wrote things down-’

‘They did, but not everything. The Igbo culture believes in giving everyone relevance. For someone to be relevant, they have to have a role. Old people are frail and cannot fight or work as hard as the young. So, the only way to ensure they remained relevant was to make them the custodians of the most important aspect of our culture — knowledge.’

With the focus on trends like #lazygirljobs, #techbros, #quietquitting, and the #cleangirlaesthetic, it is evident the media is obsessed with the behavior and idiosyncrasies of young people. Amid this cacophony of trends and tiktokification of already extant behavior, the older demographic of society is pushed aside like toys that have outlived their usefulness.

But are ‘geezers’ really important?

What do they bring to the ergonomic table of our AI-obsessed world?

When people talk about older adults, it is usually to apportion blame. We blame them for everything that is wrong with society today. We worry that the pension system will collapse because of them, call them burdens to the healthcare system, and blame them for the floundering mental health of their Gen X, Millennial, and/or Gen Z kids. And while I have to admit that the oldies made some mistakes, we shouldn’t throw away the baby with the bathwater.

No Space for Old Dogs and Their Tricks

“Listen to your elder’s advice. Not because they are always right but because they have more experiences of being wrong.” — Melchor Lim

The major folly of youth is thinking that it is invincible, that it knows better than all those who came before it. In this…



Ifeanacho MaryAnn

Storyteller, Long Distance Cat Mom. A quiet voice rambling in an isolated corner of the internet. I write on psychology, films, books and my random thoughts