Today is international Day of the Older Person, which made me stop and reflect on how much the older members of our society contribute to us. Look around at our elders who look after other family members, volunteer for charities, maintain our schools and communities, and share their wisdom in a myriad of ways.
Imagine what our society would be like if they choose not to give back so much of their experiences, time and learnings to us. We would be a lot poorer as a nation and as people, so it is important that we listen to the wisdom and experiences that they can share with us. The question is – are we wise enough to listen?
My mother is one of these ‘older persons’ and is younger at heart than many people my age. She is in her late 70s and if I can be as active as her when I get to that age I’ll be ecstatic. She swims twice a week, dances a couple of nights a week, walks at a pace that I struggle to keep up with, does suduko, makes stunning birthday cards, is an active member of her church and helps ‘older people’ who need help around their homes. And she finds the joy in everyday things, everyday. She is busier now than when she was working, providing emotional, spiritual and practical help and support to those around her.
I do believe that her attitude and her approach to life is what keeps her young. She has never been to a gym or done organized fitness, but has always just ‘kept healthy’. However, she assures me that she still eats lots of chocolate – which she obviously burns off at a great rate of knots! And she makes sure she stays active every day – and that’s obviously paid off for her.
I look at my life compared to hers, and realise how different a life she has had. She lived through a world war, left her family behind to come to NZ where she had to learn a whole new language and culture. She and my dad instilled education, values and hard work in us as the basis of success, and although mum didn’t get the chance to go to university, she always had that dream for us.
So I’m going to make sure that I touch base with mum today and thank her for the joy, wisdom and experiences she brings to my life. Life is for living and mum ensures she lives life to the fullest!
So let’s celebrate International Day of the Older Person by thanking those around us who make our lives so much richer!