You don’t give yourself enough credit. You know more than you think you do! Sure, there are some downsides to aging, but have you considered the knowledge that you’ve gained along the way? It’s inevitable that as time marches on we all gain from experiences and hopefully learn while on our journey. That’s what enriches our lives and can also enrich the lives of others as well. In my journey, which has been shorter than some of my wiser , more mature readers, I’ve learned and continue learning on my education. Others who are older, might consider me an ignorant pup, and that’s ok. That’s the perks that come with each decade. I am not here to teach, but to learn and to share, and I’d like to share with you some of my life’s lessons. They are not numbered in any order of importance, just observations.
Enjoy and appreciate the beauty around us.
There was a time when people spent a good part of the day outside. They worked, farmed, gathered and raised their food and so much more outside that was necessary to sustain themselves. In our modern times, people can (and sometimes have to) stay in their house or a building for days on end. It’s easy to run out of time to get outside. Nature offers so many benefits that can fortify us throughout the day. Besides the obvious benefits of Vitamin D (which so many are lacking now) clean air and exercise, there are also less obvious benefits such as stress reduction, mood improvement, and new studies indicate eye improvement. We are so blessed to have this beautiful, diverse world. To me, there is something so therapeutic and calming about taking in our surroundings, whether it’s the ocean, mountains, desert or even, just our backyard.
Every day presents an opportunity of some kind.
I always welcome the beginning of a new day. Even if the previous day was awful, the next, fresh day brings hope and light to us. It’s an opportunity to make things right with someone, to improve job skills, to try and go a day without any negativity, to brighten a stranger’s day or even to do something simple, like finally cleaning out the garage (which you’ve been putting off for months…or years). A new day offers new possibilities and new starts. I remember telling my youngest married daughter to never go to bed while angry with your spouse. She said something that I thought was profound. She said, “I disagree. I think at times it may be better to go to bed angry. Nighttime is often when we are stressed, tired and short-tempered. After a hard day, it may be better to go to bed angry and when you wake up to a new day, you may be softened and see things differently.” I have thought about this, and see the wisdom in this. This brings me to another observation.
We learn just as much from children and young people as they do from us.
I cannot imagine our lives without our children and grandchildren. We have all learned so much together, mostly about love, and life has been so much better surrounded by them. I remember a son-in-law worrying that he might not love his soon-to-be second child. It’s hard to explain to someone that whether it’s a 2nd, 3rd, or 20th child, your love continues to exist and grow with every new day. Of course, when his next child was born, he fell in love all over again. It’s wonderful how that works. The marvelous thing about grandchildren, is that you have learned what really is important and what isn’t along the way. Grown children have often looked at their parents in disbelief as their parents spoil and love and forgive grandkids for things, they themselves never got away with. But perfection isn’t a prerequisite for parenthood, and we learn as we go. It is interesting how our own parents become smarter to us and more appreciated as we go through many of the experiences they have already gone through. We also come to learn at how fleeting those precious years with our younger children are. Fortunately, you realize that although the housing arrangements may change as they leave, the sweet association doesn’t have to. I love watching our kids raise their kids and how kind and patient they are. They are all good humans raising good humans. The sweetest reunion is family coming through the door, hugs and kisses and the sound of, “Grandma, Grandpa!” We feel younger when we are around them all and they are so appreciated and loved.
To stay young, we must continue learning and progressing.
Henry Ford said, “Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning, stays young.” Life is about always learning and progressing. It can be through reading, studying about places and traveling, learning a foreign language or the language of the computer. It can be studying about gardening, politics, cooking or relationships. Whatever it is, learning rejuvenates us and motivates us and we can share our findings with others. To quit learning, is to give up on life. There’s always something to learn, we each have a desire to learn, and as we cultivate it, it brings meaning to our life. It can also enlarge our circle of friends. I was invited to join a book club, and I was hesitant. They were all very smart ladies. What if they hated my comments? What if I was too busy? What if I felt uncomfortable? What if, what if, what if? I decided to give it a try, and I loved and continue to love it. Not only is it bringing friends into my life, but it has brought back my love of reading and has helped me to just slow down for awhile and enjoy a book. I love learning, and can be found researching many topics. After 2 attempts, I haven’t given up on learning Spanish, if someone wants to teach me!
Lastly, we are all in this together.
It’s easy in our society from a young age to be competitive and that can be healthy and necessary for life. But, it’s a balancing act along with compassion, empathy and charity. I appreciate the people I associate with of all ages, who are so kind and caring. I teach a Sunday School class with 5 and 6-year old children. They are so sweet and caring. They are smart and know the answers, but they are also so considerate not to embarrass someone. They also are ready to encourage someone as hugs abound and also kind words. It’s very inspirational to me and reminds me that it’s never inappropriate to be kind. It’s always important to remember that almost every person that you come in contact with is dealing with something. If we remember this, it will help us to be more patient and understanding. Little things can also go a long way. I’ve often noticed older ladies in stores and restaurants, looking lovely, and I try to compliment them when I see them. I also thank Veteran’s for their service, which is heartfelt and I can’t imagine the things they’ve been through. It just takes a minute. I likewise, have been the recipient of kindness. That grouchy clerk may just have received some tragic news before you dealt with him. Or that driver who just cut you off, may be in a hurry to get to a loved one. Or he may not. It doesn’t matter. It’s a struggle every day, because we too are dealing with things. We can only try to do a little better every day and know this, you are not alone.
I’d love to hear about the things you are learning on your journey. Leave a comment so we can learn from you!