Seniors’ optimism is contagious
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.