You are a gift to all of us. While aging brings natural challenges, losses, and difficulties, these past months have heaped extra burdens on you. News stories, quarantines, isolation, and serious health concerns have edged their way in and maybe even wreaked havoc with daily life for you or your loved ones. Only you know what that experience has fully been like.
And yet, here you are. Though unique, this isn’t your first rodeo. You have lived some life, faced some challenges, and you’re here to tell about it. Over the years, you have gathered up treasures of experience, talent, and wisdom. You have a lot to offer, and we need you.
Thank you for being who you are and for sharing your gifts. Following are some senior traits worth celebrating (and seeking).
You have lived some life. You’ve grown through childhood, adolescence, early adulthood, middle age, and into your golden years. Throughout your life, you have formed and lost relationships, solved and avoided problems, failed, triumphed, loved, faced disappointments, worked hard, and learned to rest. Your life experiences have formed you. You’ve learned a few things about what matters and what doesn’t. You know This, too, shall pass.
Your experience is a gift. Have you ever spoken a word of reassurance to a struggling new mom or shown her the best way to burp her crying baby? Have you ever talked a young neighbor through the construction of his first raised garden bed? Or taught a grandchild to fish? You have years that others don’t. And while you likely know you don’t know it all, you have earned a deeper knowledge of many things. Your wisdom both challenges and comforts.
While the years have brought experience and wisdom, they’ve also brought you talents. What do you love to do? What are you good at? Can we see? Talents don’t have to be something you went to school or won an award for. Your talents, gifts, and skills can simply come from doing something over and over for a long time.
Do you make the most wonderful mayonnaise chocolate cake? Or crochet artful blankets? Or perhaps you can build motors or fix appliances. Or garden, or paint a landscape, or make a meal for family with your eyes closed. Very likely, you offer your talents to those closest to you without even thinking about it. Perhaps you might consider sharing them with a few more people. Maybe you already have. You have a lot to give—teach a piano lesson, lead an art class, or put together a cookbook of your recipes to share. At this point in life, you can give your talents away simply for the enjoyment of it.
Many of us may associate aging with memory loss. However, Laura Carstensen, director of the Stanford Center on Longevity, has found that the brains of aging people actually improve in many ways, like in complex problem-solving and emotional skills. Carstensen says that young people especially need the “distinctive qualities” older adults possess, like their wisdom, helpful counsel, and experience.
According to Carstensen, “older people may be just the resource children need.” Whether you feel as sharp as you once were, you have gained valuable thinking skills. Your ability to solve problems, interact with others, and have a meaningful sense of purpose set a healthy standard for young people to notice and emulate. Your presence and way of being are a gift in themselves.
Your time, then, is also a gift. Whether or not younger generations seek out time with you, the time you give to others is valuable. That’s because the time you give is chock-full of you. You’ve been through what young people are going through. While it may not look exactly the same, you share in the experience of being human. You have swaddled the baby, caught the fish, felt the heartache. For the rest of us, simply knowing that you’ve already been there is a comfort.
The lessons, skills and attitudes toward life and one another that you have collected are treasures. Please, if you will, share them. We need to learn from you. Thank you.
The Cedars Retirement Community
The Cedars Retirement Community is a beautiful lakeside retirement residence located just outside of Fort Wayne, Indiana. The Cedars believes in providing the highest quality of life and opportunity for seniors. We are operating with great care during this pandemic and are following all guidelines issued by the CDC and ISDH. Please contact us with any questions you may have.