Michael's Metaphors of Life Journal header image 2

When I Grow Old and Wear the Bottom of My Trousers Rolled: Small Gemstones

June 10th, 2017 by Michael Dyet

I grow old… I grow old…

I shall wear the bottom of my trousers rolled

~ T.S. Eliot, The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock

Hmmm, is the secret to growing old gracefully opting out of the relentless race against time?

I wrote the first post in this series seven years ago. In the time that has elapsed since then, my mindset has shifted. When I Grow Old is evolving to As I Grow Old. In less than a year, I will reach the big 60 – a landmark age that will be hard to disregard.

As much as growing old is a condition I do not welcome, it does come with wisdom. I’m realizing that chasing time is a fool’s errand. Time is only a human conception. We created devices to measure our days in a never ending circle of tick-tocks. Now we run a race to beat the hands around the dial. It seems to me that the only thing we are measuring is our own obsession.

It has taken me an inordinate amount of time (pardon the irony) to understand that trying to squeeze in as much living as possible into each day, in the race against time, offers much less return on investment than finding the small gemstones of joy each day has to offer.

It is a counter-cultural way of thinking and puts me at odds with much of what is happening around me. But going against the flow is a rhythm I once had an aptitude for and which I need, for the sake of my sanity, to rediscover and reclaim.

And so, trying to beat my single day record, for number of bird species sighted, is giving way to lingering to admire the efflorescent blue splash of an Indigo Bunting in the foliage ahead.

And so, covering as much territory as possible to maximize my chances of coming across a butterfly species I have not yet set eyes upon, is making less sense than tarrying to ponder how the glow of sunbeams has been replicated in a Great Spangled Fritillary.

And so, lamenting the uncooperative darner dragonfly that took flight before I could catch it in the focus of my binoculars, is beginning to seem foolish when a common but still exquisite Callico Pennant is waiting patiently for me to notice it.

And so, measuring the value of my day by the quantity of living squeezed into it is dissolving and resolving into appreciating the quality of that living in whatever measure it comes.

When I grow old and wear the bottom of my trousers rolled, I know that I will move slower, grow weary sooner and have less energy to run the race with time.

But as I grow old, I hope that I will learn the patience to pause more often, see with more clarity and better appreciate what I too often take for granted. And perhaps, be inspired to weave metaphors with more simple elegance and gifted insight that I have yet achieved.

~ Michael Robert Dyet is the author of “Until the Deep Water Stills – An Internet-enhanced Novel” – double winner in the Reader Views Literary Awards 2009. Visit Michael’s website at or the novel online companion at

~ Subscribe to “Michael’s Metaphors of Life Journal aka Things That Make Me Go Hmmm” at its’ internet home Instructions for subscribing are provided in the “Subscribe to this Blog: How To” instructions page in the right sidebar. If you’re reading this post on another social networking site, come back regularly to my page for postings once a week.


Tags:   · · · · · · · No Comments