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Learn from us, your elders

A few weeks ago, I listened to an online discussion about the elderly and the many annoying symptoms that accompany the aging process. Funny, nothing sounded strange or new to me.  I could have added a few things they did not mention. Pity, I did not save the video, and now I can’t find it. I hate it when that happens.

But I do remember the panel saying how important it is for seniors to be involved in life’s everyday events. The idea is not to just keep us busy, although that is also part of the program.

One speaker was emphatic: “The elderly must be allowed an opportunity to share gems of wisdom they have acquired from life. It is perhaps at this point of contact that the young ones today can appreciate and be more in sync with their elders. There is incalculable value in what people of age can bring to the table.”

How about that! Whoever thinks that we are over the hill and out of commission is dead wrong.

I like that. I refuse to be counted out like a dead statistic. I want to stand up and make a difference, no matter my age.  Although I must admit that, at times these days, it seems quite pointless to stand up at all.

I shared this news with another schoolmate. I remember she was an activist in that “once upon a time.” I used to worry about her safety, marching the streets in her protest garb.

I think she misunderstood and must have thought I was organizing a rally. She sighed.

“I am tired. I don’t think I have it in me anymore to join these demonstrations and shout out nasty and ugly things at the people on top, no matter how much they may deserve the insults. Besides, the young ones may feel inhibited when they spew out their four-letter words in the presence of my gray hair.”

You think? I have a feeling it won’t bother them at all.

Age-related

I was discussing “growing old” with some younger friends the other day. They were eager to encourage, trying to find the right things to say.

But it is difficult for a person in her 60s, still with a lot of pep in her step, to understand why people of age suddenly shy away from traipsing about like they did in the past—not that long ago, actually.

Well, it’s because we don’t traipse very well anymore. Seriously, we have slowed down. We are not sick. It is just easier for us to stay home. We do not delay anyone when we toddle. Everything we need is within reach. Our surroundings are familiar. We feel safe.  And we can take naps, whenever.

I have those thoughts every morning when I wake up. But I go out anyway. I see friends. We have lunch. I get stuck in traffic. That’s okay. I’m part of the action and I love it.

Too many fears

I have short-listed some of the reasons people my age may choose to stay home.

Eyesight is no longer 20/20. Hearing may be flawed. Sense of balance is a bit off. There’s a fear of falling. The little aches and pains are ever present.

And then vanity steps in. It is difficult to accept that one needs a cane, a walker a wheelchair, even a nanny. My good friend refuses to use her walker. But her sister recently added rhinestones to her old cane and took off to party.

We all need that kind of spunk to defy our fears.

I talked to my niece about the missing video.

“You must share your wisdom with us,” she said.

They say, “Wisdom is the ability to think and act in such a way that common sense prevails and choices are beneficial and productive.

“It is a way of viewing and approaching life. It involves instructing the young in proper conduct and morality and answering questions about the meaning of life. “

Another short list

I don’t know how much wisdom there is in what I have learned through the years. Allow me to share a few lessons.

Family takes top priority, second only to God.

It is important to say “I love you.”

Face-to-face and person-to -person is always better than texting or Facetime.

If you are only an option and not a priority to your special someone, it is time to say goodbye.

Discipline is necessary. Imperative. Children need structure, boundaries. Adults, too.

Apologizing is good for the soul. Saying “sorry” hurts. Say it anyway.

I should have exercised more when I was young. Today it hurts to try.

No one gets a free lunch. Sooner or later you pay.

Nobody dies of a broken heart.

And when your world starts to fall apart, don’t panic. Get down on your knees, look up to heaven, and pray. It works.

God restores. Only God.

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