Se­niors’ op­ti­mism is con­ta­gious

Stanthorpe Border Post - - NEWS - Saman­tha Wantling

I’VE al­ways heard that age is just a num­ber – you are only as old as you feel. Any­body who knows me will agree I am a pes­simist and as I get older, it seems to be get­ting worse. I’ve tried to change it by putting pos­i­tive mes­sages and posters all over the walls and doors of my of­fice, but here I am – still a pes­simist. I put it down to my Shan­non gene (and no amount of per­sua­sion is go­ing to change that), the fact that we seem to be sur­rounded by so much bad news in the world we live and prob­a­bly the ele­phant in the room, I am get­ting older. But this week I had the plea­sure of at­tend­ing a Stan­thorpe Se­nior Cit­i­zens meet­ing and I can guar­an­tee you I left with a lit­tle more op­ti­mism in my be­ing. Life just isn’t as bad as it seems. In only one hour, I walked away from the Se­nior Cit­i­zens room hav­ing learnt more than I had in a long while.

It is never too late to learn: Mo­bile phones may seem like sec­ond na­ture to the younger gen­er­a­tion, but don’t be fooled by our se­nior cits – they are keep­ing up with the best of us.

Have pur­pose: Ev­ery sin­gle per­son at the meet­ing told me what keeps them all vi­brant.

The glow in their eyes while they talk about their fam­i­lies and the joy of see­ing them for Christ­mas.

Value friend­ship: Each per­son had a dif­fer­ent opin­ion on a va­ri­ety of top­ics, but each per­son lis­tened in­tently to the next and re­spected each other’s opin­ions (we could learn a lot).

The past is a great teacher: Whether it was car safety, tech­nol­ogy, elec­tions, plebiscites, univer­si­ties, Gran­ite Belt his­tory, th­ese se­niors have all rein­vented them­selves to deal with life.

Stop and lis­ten to the el­derly: Some of our most valu­able life lessons do not come from the books or the web­sites we read, but from the peo­ple you meet in your day-to-day trav­els, es­pe­cially the ones who have lived life longer than you.

Stay pos­i­tive: This is the one I re­ally took away. Ev­ery sin­gle mem­ber had dealt with more loss and sad­ness in their lives than I thought pos­si­ble, but they all get up and find that some­thing that makes their lives worth­while. They were so wel­com­ing and ev­ery mem­ber had a smile on their face re­gard­less of what life or even the day had thrown at them.

Poet Sa­muel Ull­man said, “you are young as your self-con­fi­dence, as old as your fears; as young as your hope, as old as your de­spair” – so I guess get­ting old is not as bad as I thought.

As for my pes­simism, well that is still go­ing to take a bit of work, but I can at least take a few of my posters down. See­ing op­ti­mism first hand is a lot bet­ter than just read­ing it.

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