Our culture is obsessed with youth and undervalues the wisdom of those that have lived many years. This really makes no sense since the elderly have so much more life experience, practice navigating adversity, skills in the workplace, and knowledge of relationship dynamics, career paths, parenthood, retirement, and loss. Why is it that we don't take the time to learn from their experiences to ease our transitions through life? When do we decide that we are experts and stop learning from others? I recently had a conversation with my friend, Anna, who is 93 and living life to the fullest. She offered many pearls to help navigate life's challenges and perspectives to bring more joy and peace into our everyday experience. Here are a few insights:
1. We see a narrow piece of the pie. keep an open mind and be curious. Know that we do not know it all.
2. We don't know what we don't know.
3. We are all on a path moving in the same direction to bring love, compassion, and joy to ourselves and others.
4. There are only 2 emotions: love and fear. All that we experience stems from a version of one of these.
5. When someone upsets me, I mentally put them in a pond of love and let them go. I wish them well and send love their way. What they do with it is up to them.
6. Challenge yourself to think outside the box.
7. Hatred corrodes the container it comes in.
8. Thank your body everyday for the miles it has carried you.
9. The hardest thing for humans to do is love themselves. We too often get bogged down by comparing ourselves to others then feel bad about ourselves.
10. Anger often comes out sideways as impatience, irritation with those closest to us or physical pain. It is important to release anger. Ask yourself, "What am I mad about?" Then listen to your intuition for answers.
11. When someone confronts you, say "Thank you for pointing that out." Don't fight back. this allows you to dis-engage emotionally and often disarms the other person. Humor is another way to diffuse confrontation.
12. Stating affirmations is an important way to bring positivity to your mind even if you don't initially believe the affirmations are true. Say them at night before bed. Some examples are:
That was then, this is now.
I do what's best for myself and others around me.
Age does not determine my health.
13. Older people tend to stay in their comfort zones. Their world becomes narrow and conversations revolve around what they know and commonly around health concerns. "I'd rather put a stick in my eye than listen to those old people."
Thank you Anna for your insights, humor, energy, and approach to living. I
appreciate and honor you.