This audio story is part of our exploration into the theme of Aging. Follow along all June and July to read more stories published on the theme.
Be kind, practice gratitude, find balance, say yes to adventure.
These are some of the life lessons shared by my 78-year-old grandmother and her friends in this vox-pop. At 23 years old, I already feel as if I’ve learned a lot from the experiences I’ve had and all the relationships—with friends, partners, professors, family—that I’ve been in. The exciting challenge of getting older is accepting the wisdom gained from the experiences, even if it can be painful, and integrating that wisdom moving forward, always becoming more intimate with and grounded in what we know (or at least we think we know). After 78, 87, or 94 years of experiences... our elders are containers of wisdom about what it means to be a person that we would be remiss to ignore, and yet so often do. My grandmother, an avid ENDPAIN reader, is always relating our stories and themes back to her own community, a group of individuals that is familiar with pain, forgiveness, healing, and all of the richness that we explore on our platform. So she was thrilled by the idea of producing her own vox-pop, asking the friends who live in her retirement community, what is one of the most important life lessons you’ve learned? Click on the play button above to listen to their answers.
Sandy: Hi there, my name is Sandy, I’m 79 years old, and my best advice is that I’ve learned to say yes to adventure. Whatever’s offered — do you want to go here, do you want to go there — yes, just say yes. It usually turns out to be something interesting.
Bud: Good afternoon, this is Bud, a young 85-year-older. Something i’ve learned in the last 10 years that has given me a much better frame of mind and the ability to deal with all sorts of issues is, ten years ago, I stopped worrying about things I had no control over. They don’t bother me if things go wrong, simply because I have no control over those things happening. And it’s made me feel a lot better. It has kept my pressure certainly less, it has made me a more easy going type of person and I think probably a better person. Because I realize there’s not really much in life that I can really control. And I try very hard to do a good job with the things I can control and things I have some input.
Kerry: Hi my name is Kerry, and I’m 59 years old. I would say the thing that I’ve learned in my life time is to have balance in your life. Not to think you have to be perfect, and not to do too much, and to think more about balancing out your life. And the second idea I have is to be kind to people. Don’t judge them; instead of getting angry at people, kill them with kindness is what I tell my kids. Sometimes they react and sometimes they don’t, but you might be the only thing that day that’s nice. So those are the two things I would say I’ve learned.
Liz: My name is Liz and I’m 87 years old, almost 88. One of my first, I think, big life lessons was when I started work, when my youngest child was in 1st grade. And I learned that I didn’t have to totally depend on anybody else. Especially my husband. And I only meant to work temporarily, but 25 years later... I was still there. Since I’ve retired and I’m now a widow, I’ve learned that I simply cannot control anything. Especially not my children. I guess you would say my mantra is, let it go. And I repeat the - I think it’s the alcoholics mantra, learn to accept the things you cannot change. I think I’m much more easy go going than I used to be. I’ve learned to control my temper, and to really let go and enjoy life and enjoy my kids, and grandkids, and now great-grandchildren! So I’m living a very happy life now.
Judy: Hi, my name is Judy and I’m 78. The one word that has kept me going is “challenge”. I have had so many challenging experiences in my life and I can look back and be so thankful that I never gave up. My family and work experience have been the most rewarding and there is still room for me to continue to challenge myself. My mantra: “do it”.
Eleanor: My name is Eleanor and I’m 94 years old, and every day is a blessing to me. I’m most fortunate to have seen wonderful miracles and events in my lifetime, and I’m very grateful. I would like to add three important words to me: one being, acceptance; the second one being kindness, and the third is gratitude.