Life Lessons From the Elderly

Treat Thompson



This is a republishing of The Steady Fella Newsletter. Every week readers use the timeless insights on passion, productivity, philosophy, and happiness from this newsletter to build towards the life they want.

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Some of the best wisdom you can receive is from elderly people.

Their advice can quite literally save you a lifetime of questioning. They can give you answers that would have otherwise taken you decades to reach on your own.

I remember when was in high school, people I knew in university would give me advice. I'd take that advice and throw it in the trash. However, when I finally got to university I regretted not listening to them, because I reached the same conclusions.

Why did I regret it if I learned it in the end? Because it took years to learn.

After experiencing that, I started looking at people older than me as assets.

When I see an old man crossing the street, it's hard for me not to see decades upon decades upon decades of experience just walking.

Asking him for advice is like going into the future, getting my answer, and coming back. He lived through my question, so now I don't have to.

Of course, some advice degrades over time, but that doesn't take away from the fact that there is still timeless information you can tap into.

With that being said, here are 5 lessons and regrets from the elderly:

Family time

A huge regret elderly people have is not spending more time with their family. The busy 30-year-old who can't make time to see their parents will wish for that time back when they're gone.

Living safe and practical

Towards the end of life, many people regret not starting a business or travelling the world. They regret playing it safe and dedicating themselves to saving for retirement.

Everyone needs autonomy

Maximize your ability to make decisions and move in directions that interest you in life. Being in control makes fulfillment easier to reach.

Obsessing over embarrassment

An extremely common regret from the elderly is letting the fear of embarrassment limit their life. They say you won't value the comfort of not taking a shot over the feeling of your ideas coming to life.

Live life now

Spending your last six months completing your bucket list stains your dreams with sadness and regret. Don't wait until it's too late. Experience life and create memories now.

I hope these insights help you live better and I hope it makes you want to tap into the precious resource that is our elderly.

Speaking on the elderly, Karl Pillemer says, "older people are the most credible experts we have on how to live happy and fulfilled lives during hard times. They have experienced extraordinary historical events that tested their limits – and they have learned how to cope with them, to survive and to thrive. They have also been through the kinds of personal challenges and tragedies that younger people lie awake at night worrying about: loss of parents and spouses, even children; the ups and downs of marriage, bad jobs and unemployment. And they have come through them, and often are happier than younger people, as research shows us. What better source of advice for living for the rest of us?"

This weeks quote

We shall never have more time. We have, and have always had, all the time there is. - Arnold Bennett

This quote is a thinker.

My take is that Arnold is referring to the present. Right now is all that exists. There is no past or future. Another quote of his illustrates this well: "you can only waste the passing moment. You cannot waste tomorrow, it is kept from you."

With that being said, it becomes silly to wish we have more time because this moment is all the time that exists.

This weeks question

Have you ever denied advice that you later wish you accepted, because it would have put you in a better position?

If so, that is the essence of this newsletter and why I see my elders as precious resources.