Today I want to share something I learned from my father as he aged. I’m thinking about him because it’s the fourth anniversary of his death.
Dad taught me that life can be a long race. The end is shaped by what came before.
Because he was kind, considerate, and cheerful, people still wanted to be with him when he was old. He lived alone, and no doubt felt lonely at times after mom died, but to me, he seemed quite popular for an 87-year-old who was a shy, bookish farm boy when he was young.
People wanted to be with him! My siblings and I competed for the honor of having him with us on holidays. His brother-in-law invited him along on errands and outings. Two or three senior citizen ladies telephoned often for long, chatty conversations. Grandchildren invited him to graduations, award ceremonies, and sporting events.
What makes one “popular” at various stages of life? When we’re young, it might be looks, smarts, or athletic ability.
In middle life, status and popularity might come from career accomplishments, money, or the ability to tell a good story.
Dad showed me what makes one popular in old age: an interest in other people, being a good listener, approaching life with optimism and flexibility. Good character and a loving spirit attract people, no matter how old you are.
He’s my role model. I have much to learn and make mistakes, but then so did he. I saw him learn from disappointing experiences and intentionally take a different approach the next time.
Thanks, Dad! You did well. You are missed.
Call to Action
How likely are you to stay interested in other people as you age? Practice the skills needed by taking my Be Young Challenge™️:
Go one full week without talking about your health problems, aches, pains, weight, or appearance worries. Instead, ask other people what’s going on with them, and listen. Can you do it? Ready….go!
©️2017 Booktalk Lady LLC