Guide to SKOPJE

Why is it cool to be old?


EU Delegation in Republic of Macedonia organized competition for best essay with really inspiring title “Why is it Cool to be Old?”, on the occasion of the 2012 European Year for Active Ageing and Solidarity between Generations. The 2012 European Year is intended to raise awareness of the contribution that older people make to society. It seeks to encourage policymakers and relevant stakeholders at all levels to take action with the aim of creating better opportunities for active ageing and strengthening solidarity between generations.

In addition you can read the winning essay, the work of Natasha Tolevska, student in SUGS “Georgi Dimitrov”.


It’s so nice to be cool.

Calm, cool and collected; nothing can throw you off balance; you live by your own rules… I though that was hard, almost too hard.

That was until a friend at school, before the start of a joint parent-teacher conference, told me that I had a cool father!

My Dad is COOL?!

But he’s old. His body’s been carrying him around for some fifty years.

My Dad doesn’t care what people say when he goes jogging beside the river Vardar every afternoon. Seeing as he was a professional handball player, he jogs for his own enjoyment. He likes it. And it’s healthy too.

Sometimes I join him for a run. The first time that I joined him I told him that I could run faster than him. And I flew off down the riverside track. However, after five minutes of running like the wind I had to sit down. Panting, sweating, my knees were shaking… But him?! Slowly but surely, he caught up with me and, without looking my way, passed me with a slightly arrogant air about him. “Look at this old man?!”, I thought to myself. I got up and ran to catch up with him. Disgraced, but still determined to keep him company until the end of his ritual. He stopped for a moment, looked at me in my small playful eyes, pulled me gently by my curls and without blinking uttered a metaphysical statement: Nate, live slow so you can live fast. Wow, what a thought! Maybe our ancestors are from China. The family of Confucius! I felt like the hare that races with the tortoise in the old parable.

That’s when I realised that getting older is a pre-condition for wisdom. Ageing, although they say it is an irreversible process, is a significant reversible process for the wise. The older my Dad gets, the more life lessons I get from him every day. My cool-Dad is my best friend, buddy, co-passenger in life. He exchanged biological ageing with spiritual youth. That much older, that much wiser.

I want to be first in my class. I want to have straight As from A to Z, i.e. from Maths to Physics. And why not? Except I have a C in Maths. I just can’t seem to get to grips with it. Then again, who can get to grips with Maths?! But, Dad’s here and he’ll help me. And… quick as a flash… I explained the situation to him, the possibility of adolescent stress, a fall in my status within the class, possible deviant developments in my psyche… But he didn’t even blink. And he even told me: My daughter! Apple of my eye. Never learn something just so you can be first in the class. Learn for knowledge. For yourself. Tomorrow, when you get a job, nobody is going to ask you where you were in the class, but they’ll want you to show your abilities. They’ll want to see if you can work successfully, so that they can provide you with a regular income. For that reason: be your own person and don’t ask me to help you with things that you should be helping yourself with.

My Dad really gets on my nerves. Cool Dad? I don’t think so! If he weren’t my father, I’d have half a mind to beat him up. But that would be outrageous; I mean, who ever heard of beating up one’s own father! Yet he always beats me when it comes to concepts and ideas. However, I understood his wisdom. Since that day I study in the same way my father runs – with a regular tempo. I get satisfaction out of studying. And the results came all by themselves. Now I’ve got all As in the school register. But I never blabbed about being the best in class. I’m happy when my friends get good grades, and I also regularly help those that need it. Something very interesting happened. Instead of competing with my friends, there is now mutual admiration and new friendships. That’s how school became my second home. I love it. And I love my old Dad more and more. Old?! Did I say old Dad?! I should be ashamed of myself: my Dad is not old. He is an experienced man. Wise. The years have not decreased his worth, but on the contrary – he’s becoming an ever-stronger support in my life. I am proud of my cool-Dad. Old age can also be COOL!

Now I’m no longer afraid about how to dress when I go out, to a birthday or party… According to my cool-Dad, a person must dress in accordance with the opportunities and possibilities, but the cloths do not make a person. My behavior can further complement my personality and allow me to accept myself as I am. The fact that I’m trying to be COOL does not mean that I am perfect. Perfection in a person emanates from the inside.

Recently, my Dad and I have been going to English classes. I convinced him that it is not too late for him to become a true European. In fact, Europe is knocking at our door, so we have to be ready to welcome her. I also convinced my Mum to go, together with my cool-Dad, to some dance lessons. It was difficult, but I managed. Hahaha… Now Mum and Dad, in the living room, are embraced and dancing in time with a Enrique Iglesias song. My cool-Dad’s cheeks seem to be a little red. He’s hugging Mum and whispering something in her ear…

It’s really cool to be a cool-family.


Municipal High School “Gjorgji Dimitrov” II-6, Skopje