What I Learned From the Elderly

Hey friends,

Are you seeking out wisdom in your life?


Let's discuss the incredible value of spending time with the elderly.


Back in 2015, I met with a variety of people in their nineties during my neuroscience internship through UC Irvine. Every week, I made several appointments with volunteers; I drove to their homes to take their blood pressure and oxygen levels. This took 10 minutes, leaving the rest of my visitation time up for conversation if they wanted to talk.

They always wanted to talk.
And sometimes they made me tea! (I never turn down tea.)

I met all kinds of people--rich and not so rich, happy and not so happy people--and gained valuable lessons from everyone.


Like a sponge I soaked up the imparted wisdom.

One woman I met went gambling in Vegas for the weekend, winning a hefty sum of money and guess what she spent it on?


Her funeral expenses.


She told me: "Family is everything. I don't want them to stress over the finances when I die."


Another woman I met quit snow skiing at 92-years-old not because she was 92, but because she broke her collar bone. (Total badass, am I right?)


She also lived in a tiny apartment and had a mantelpiece lined with miniature flags from all the countries she had visited. 


And let me tell you something, there were a ton of flags mounted up there. Her travels ranged from working with the Red Cross in Africa to backpacking through Nepal. 

She lived very minimally and was the most fascinating human being I ever met.




I also had the pleasure of meeting the jolliest 97-year-old woman who spent plenty of quality time with her family and church community.

Mainly what I remember is how I felt after spending time with her. I was barely a stranger to her but felt so incredibly loved


I'll never forget that.


That's how I want to make others feel when they meet me.


Loved. 


Then I met people who were utterly and painfully alone.
Honestly it was uncomfortable to sit with them. 

I met lonely people in big mansions who had every worldly possession imaginable and lonely people in elderly homes with not a single photograph or decoration in their space.

I ached for these people.

My point?


We have a set amount of years to live.
Sadly some of us shorter than others.

Have you ever considered that?




Here's what I want I want you to ponder on today: Imagine yourself as an 80 or 90-year-old who is looking back on his or her life. 

What does that life look like? 

What's going to bring the most meaning to you?

Journal, talk to a friend about it, or both!

Take the time to sit with that question and let your imagination roam free.

And if you ever get the opportunity to volunteer with the elderly... do it! Ask them questions about their life. There is so much wisdom to soak up.


Take Care,

Amanda

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