Now, "Old Age" may look a lot like "Mortality" to young whippersnappers, but let us just tell you that while these two themes are related, they are certainly not the same. In this text, the process of aging makes the characters feel their mortality; the Old Man's attempted suicide demonstrates his willingness to escape the loneliness that, according to Hemingway, comes with age. Hemingway implies that, no matter how much money we have, or how successful we have been in life, we are all ultimately end up as lonely individuals. In this loneliness, what matters above all is simply to have some means of escape from this loneliness, whether that's suicide, drunkenness, or simply a clean, well-lighted place to sit and still feel like part of the world.
Youth, represented by the younger waiter, is perceived to be impatient and naïve; a greater understanding of the world can only come with time.
Hemingway's depiction of old age overturns traditional perceptions of the old as wiser and more at peace with the world; old age in this story entails greater discontent and dissatisfaction, while wisdom gained about life is disconcerting rather than reassuring.