Mym Clews is a bubbly full-time 79 year old dog breeder and the subject of 'The Art of Everyday Life,' the final project by two students at the Royal College of Art — Hannah and Ellis and Stella Malfilatre. Now, as well as being a phenomenal photographer, Stella is our very own In—Common editor. Stella got back in touch with Mym recently and asked her to give us some thoughts on life and age in everyday life.

Words by Mym Clews. 

I am a 79 years old (80 in September) Shiba Inu Dog breeder, and I live just outside London. The Shibas are my little family, and I have had many puppies since I started breeding them about 30 years ago; ever since the Shiba Inu came in to the country. I love it. It means I get to meet people of all ages over our shared love for the dogs. 

I really enjoy the conversations that comes out of what I do. I don't think how old I am matters to how I think about myself, or how other people think of me for that matter. It depends on the people I guess, some judge on what they see, others on what they feel. 

"My family think of me as, 'Mum in need of care', and outsiders think of me as a flash old bird who is good for her age. It’s how old I am inside that matters to me."

Mym Clews

Images by Stella Malfilatre

My family think of me as, 'Mum in need of care' and outsiders think of me as a flash old bird who is good for her age. It’s how old I am inside that matters to me. 

The biggest stress in my life at the moment is when I think about what if I have to go to into hospital at some point? Who will then be able to continue to care for my Shibas? 

What makes me super happy? A beautiful sunshine day and a lovely lunch with good friends. 

What is the biggest challenge across ages? The biggest challenges we share across all ages seem to be thinking about the future. This has nothing to do with age. We all seem to be in the hands of idiots regardless of race, age or creed. The benefit of a society where our age does not define us is that we would be more equal and not restricted to age. Our world would widen to include race religion and gender.


Originally from the project 'Art of Everyday Life' by Hannah Ellis & Stella Malfilatre

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