Getting Older and Hopefully Wiser
Admittedly, I am getting older but I am not the only one! My daughter, at age 25, moaned about how her college and career group at church changed when the young college age group arrived for the summer. My son, soon to be 29, exclaimed how he was the oldest one in a recent church sponsored meeting for young adults and his wife regretted that at 33, she was too old to join him. Back in the United States for a four week leave, I am having to work out hard at the gym to avoid adding unwanted pounds and an expanded waist size. At 57, I generally feel pretty good and still play a fairly aggressive game of tennis but working out at the local Y makes me aware of my age—even more so at the sports facility at Texas A & M University.
But, along with grey hair and skin that proclaims my age, I am grateful for all that I have learned along the way. An article by Holly Steinbrecher, “Tapping into 10,000 years of wisdom on successful aging” in the Houston Chronicle, reaffirmed that I and those farther down the road have acquired wisdom that the younger groups might benefit from. This reminds me of an article by David Brooks, writing about “The Follower Problem” in which one younger reader bewailed in the comment section how he had missed tapping into the wisdom of older generations, “As a young person, I’ve found very few adults willing to mentor me, to invest in my own personal development.” I have heard his comment before and have personally experienced this problem in my earlier missionary years. I would hope that I have been more available to our younger leaders myself but I also recognize that I need to be more intentional about mentoring the next generations.
Steinbrecher concludes her article putting the impetus back on us to pursue our elders and their wisdom when she challenges us to spend “some time with someone who is aging successfully.”
What wisdom do the centenarians have to teach us? Steinbrecher tantalizes us with three choice nuggets.
1. The clichés might actually be true. Move it or lose it. An apple a day keeps the doctor away. A majority of centenarians say they’re exercising daily, more than 80 percent say they’re eating balanced meals every day, . . . and centenarians are nearly twice as likely to get at least eight hours of sleep every night.
2. It’s all about making a connection.
3. Look to the future.
We will need to invest time and energy to pursue the wisdom of those with advanced years and to invest in mentoring those younger than us but it will be worth it. How will you invest your life today?