Often, we read about people writing to their younger selves, sharing advice they wish they had known in their earlier years. This is done in the hopes that another younger person may read it & benefit from this sage advice. An attempt to somehow lessen the stress & self-doubt a younger person feels as they move forward in life.
This got me to thinking.
At the age of 54, based on my life experience to date, what advice would I deliver to myself in my senior years? If I had the chance to have a conversation with my older self, what nuggets of knowledge would I feel it necessary to share?
Hopefully one of my kids will have tucked this away in a safe place, waiting for the appropriate time to present me with my own words of advice. Lord knows, I won’t be able to find it anywhere & I will most likely have forgotten my password to know how to get into my blog. So kids, I am relying on you to make this happen, should you feel I need to read this!
July, 28, 2015
My dearest old gal,
If you are reading this, I am guessing you are in need of a little attitude adjustment. Consider this a friendly nudge from your younger self; to heed your own advice. I have compiled a list of 18 suggestions for you, all of them coming from my own head & heart, learned through the difficult process of dealing with my own aging parents years ago.
I know what you’re thinking. “18 is kind of a random number!” Be that as it may, I gift them to you, in hopes that you are of sound enough mind to receive them in the spirit they were written:
1. Seek ways to put laughter in your day & maintain your sense of humour.
Sadly it seems when we get old, we feel we don’t have as much to laugh about. We have most likely lost many of our friends, our family & possibly even our life partners. Some days may feel unbearable, but I urge you to seek laughter. Do not be crotchety! Find someone to share a good belly laugh with, one that starts at your very core. Laughter truly is the best medicine!
2. Practice tolerance & try to stay young at heart.
I am guessing you are feeling like things have changed since you were a young girl. Rather than longing for the good old days, learn to adapt & go with the flow. Talk to young people about the issues of the world today & listen to what their challenges are. You are never too old to stop learning! Be a sponge & soak up the news of today, while at the same time being able to share your wisdom based on your life experiences. It’s a win win for everyone!
3. Use your manners.
This seems like a no brainer but aging has a funny way of making you forget to use your manners. Please, Thank You & Excuse Me are as important now as they were when you taught your children to say them all those years ago. Practice what you preached. It’s not okay to fart & not say excuse me. Unless of course, you are in your own company. In that case, see #1.
4. Use your filter.
I am not talking about your coffee filter. I am talking about your social filter. Think before you speak. Don’t just start rattling off about things before you give pause to how this information is being received. It will save you, your children & those around you, a ton of embarrassment.
5. Continue to exercise.
I know it hurts. Most likely, you are filled with aches & pains, but for the love of God, keep moving! If you can do nothing else but wave your arms in the air, do it with vigor! Remember the saying, “use it or lose it?” It still applies! Get up & move those old bones!
6. You don’t know everything.
Just because you are old, it doesn’t mean you are right all of the time. Quite honestly, you have always had difficulty with this one. I would guess as you age, it will be even more challenging for you. Stand down my friend. There are smart people still living, you may meet the odd one now & again, so be prepared to “agree to disagree”. Just sayin’.
7. Be kind & generous in spirit.
These are qualities that have been of the utmost importance to you, all of your life. Extending kindness to people, offering them a safe place to fall if they need it. Continue on this path, there is only good that come from it.
8. Look for something positive each & every day you are gifted.
Quite honestly, seniors complain a lot! I suppose after so many years, they have lots to complain about, but this can be wearisome to those around you. I beg you not to be this person. Look for the positive, don’t be the cantankerous old gal in the group. Be the gal people enjoy talking to. Continue to embrace every day as a precious gift, seek a wee bit of adventure in your day & put a smile on your face. Regardless of what age you are, a smile is a beautiful thing. It can change a person’s day.
9. Share your story.
You have had the benefit of living such a rich & full life. Look through your photos. You may not recognise all of the faces, but theses photos will remind you of how much love & joy has surrounded you in your lifetime. How lucky you were to experience such amazing adventures in so many incredible destinations, collecting stories from each and every place you visited. Share these stories, for they are so much a part of who you are.
10. Your children will most likely have to make some difficult decisions on your behalf.
This is a hard one. At some point, our parental roles change & our children end up having to help us with life decisions that we may not necessarily agree with. Trust me when I tell you this will be harder on them than it is on you. Never lose sight of how much they love you & respect them enough to hear their position. It is most likely for your own safety & well-being.
11.Practice Safe Sex.
I’M KIDDING! I just wanted to make sure you were still paying attention. If you are still gettin’ some at your age, trust me, safety is the least of your concerns! Sorry kids, refer to#1!
12. Be grateful for the wonderful life you have been given.
I read today, about a beautiful 20-year-old young girl, who was tragically killed in a car accident. I cannot fathom the loss her family is feeling. I imagine the things she will never have the opportunity to experience. Be grateful for the fullness of your life, the experiences you have had & the people you have loved along the way. If you are reading this, it means you have been one of the fortunate ones.
13. Be patient.
This seems to be a really tough one for seniors. There is a sense of urgency to every little thing they do. Please, please, please, do not be the prickly senior with a short fuse at the bank, or in the line at the grocery store. Seriously, where is it you need to be? Give people the time they need, for you probably have more time on your hands than they do!
14. You may need to lower your expectations.
High expectations are something you inherited from your grandmother. It is not necessarily a bad thing, for it has served you well in what you expect of yourself. Unfortunately sometimes your expectations are hard to meet, you may need to lower them just a tad.
15. Don’t drink too much
Quite frankly, this has always been a fear for you. Your family history has been one plagued with the wretched disease of alcoholism. If your kids suggest you are drinking too much, stop! I mean it. Clean out the cupboards of anything alcohol related, get rid of it! Period, full stop!
16. Listen to Music
You have always loved music, all kinds of music. For some reason when people get old, many stop listening to music. They find it annoying. Their car radios & their disc players are silent. Perhaps they have forgotten how to turn them on? It’s a mystery to me. I hope you still listen to music. It was & is, good for your soul!
17. Love your life to the bitter end.
None of us knows when life may end. Savour every moment. Find joy in your day. Try something new, regardless of how scary it may seem. Never give up on life before it is taken from you.
18. Be someone you would like to remember.
Leave your mark in this world as someone who loved life to its full capacity in every regard. In doing so, when you close your eyes for the very last time, you will have lived a good life, a full life, an enviable life. One you were so blessed to have had, & hopefully one that left an imprint on the hearts of those who had the pleasure to know you.
So there you have it, my dear heart. I hope this advice has helped you in small way, offering you guidance in knowing the person you wanted to be.
Your younger self
I open it up to you my friends. If given the chance, what would you add or share with your older self?