Reflections on Aging Well

Author, Living with Purpose in a Worn-out Body: Spiritual Encouragement for Older Adults (Upper Room) and Columnist, Aging Well, United Methodist Reporter

Is anyone asking for wisdom? June 15, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — missybu @ 1:43 pm

My 98 year-old friend had a twinkle in her eye and a sly grin on her face.  “Isn’t it odd that people talk about the wisdom of us old people, but no one asks for it?” 

I almost dropped my fork. Her question was both blunt and unnerving.

It made me wonder why we don’t ask older adults to share the wisdom they’ve gained over a lifetime of experiences.  Is it that we look at their gray heads and slumping shoulders and think to ourselves that anything they have to say about living life is terribly out-of-date?  Do we unintentionally discount their opinions and thoughts because they are not up-to-speed with the latest electronic gadgets?

How long has it been since you asked an older adult to share her wisdom? How long has it been since you’ve asked what she’s learned in her long life that could help you in your journey?  Well… that’s too long. 





3 Responses to “Is anyone asking for wisdom?”

  1. When my husband’s grandma was alive we would talk about what life was like for her. She’d lived through some tough times. Her wisdom seemed so lost on her own children. But I wanted to hear it. I mean, any woman who was married for 65 years to the same man has something to say!

    Her wisdom was all about taking the time to enjoy life. And not the big trips or the shiny cars. But what’s around us. The simple moments of family. Slow down. Get to know your kids. Stay close. Spend time.

    The times I had to speak with just her were so valuable to me.

  2. For years my sister and I would set our camera’s on top of the microwave first thing in the morning when visiting our parents and we would video our morning coffee conversation. They had the most lively conversations and told the best stories! None of the children living close stopped long enough to even have a conversation, but as we all sat around the hospital waiting rooms in the end we were drilled for stories.

    When we were ask for pictures for the funeral videos we were in the majority of those pictures. Now, everyone wants copies of everything. We know we are blessed, and when our hearts have had time to settle we will share. I truely feel sorry for their loss.

    I was told once that “they talk about the same things all the time”, and my answer was, “so ask a different question”.

  3. Toni LaMotta Says:

    I visit two elderly women each week – one 94 and the other 104. I ask them all the time what advice they have to give – not only to me but to all the people I work with in midlife and beyond. The 104 year old told me the other day that she has learned to stop craving things she can no longer do or have. “This way, I am always content,” she says. And she is. Something to think about here for sure. She told me she has no particular religious or spiritual belief – but, I see this as deep spiritual wisdom – accepting what is is at the heart of all spiritual teaching. — I’d love to hear your stories of conscious aging as well.

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