The poem If by Rudyard Kipling is amazing. Decades later after its composition, it still conveys the central challenge, and reward of growing up to maturity. Once we ‘mature’ though, what can we possibly learn?
I deliver newspapers at a seniors lodge. I work in retail, and serve my community in a variety of ways, yet I am always amazed at the life lessons I see modeled around me that seemingly are glossed over, and passed over by those who should stand up and take notice.
There is wisdom in this world, if we just take time to look for it.
Getting old stinks. Many have commented that the fallacy of our ‘golden years’ is pure hockum. The working years of your life, when your children are young and keep you active, when laughter, joy, and even hardship keep you honest, focused and passionate are the real gold.
Once your eyesight and hearing start to go, you realize just what you had, and wished you would have treasured those sights and sounds. Once your body starts hurting where you never knew it could, you remember that old injury the doctor told you to take care of, and you didn’t because you were young and bulletproof. Not anymore.
Don’t forget the parents/grandparents. Often, I walk the halls of the lodge, and see lonely faces waiting for visitors. When children/grandchildren, and even pets come for a visit, faces light up and a spring in the step returns.
Neglect not the wisdom of the aged. We talk about the future of our communities as the young people, but forget that our parents, aunts, uncles, and seniors among us were there significant events and developments occurred.
My 97-year-old friend and his wife came to Canada from England, and spent an hour one day telling me about London during the Blitzkrieg. Positively terrifying. “See you tomorrow” they would say “Not if I don’t bombed”.
When a friend did not show up, you knew…we may see the ‘stories’ as not important, but they are. These people have lived when the soldiers of the Second World War returned, when TV first hit the airwaves, when a highway to your town was a luxury, and electricity was ‘new’ to the district. Rambling stories, sure, but inside the mind of the teller, they can see, hear, and smell the moments. Record their lives, savor their memories, that is real treasure.
Work hard, live hard, laugh often. Life, at any era or decade had its’ own challenges.
The change in work types, schedules and pay scales has affected society at all levels. Family activity levels have decreased as our society grows up and become more digital. More choice does not mean better choices.
Join a community, live in, and work for the community. The greatest gift you can give your children is a good example of working in, and for the betterment of a community. Join a service club, join a church and live out your faith. Honest actions speak louder than hollow words.