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Wednesday, 26 March 2008

Graceful Aging

By Sharon McKinney

The cookie fortune read: Wisdom is acquired by experience, not just by age.

My aspiration is to display the wisdom that I have grown up believing was a natural consequence of aging. I want to be the Star Wars mentor, Yoda. He just pops out those pithy one-liners loaded with everything anyone needs to know about how the world works and how to be a good person.

My problem is that I have noticed that some of my elders seem to have not become wise at all, only older. That has not stopped some of them from using their age to become tyrants when the only discernible right they have to give orders is the number of candles on their birthday cakes. They give one-liners, yes they do. Unlike Yoda, these philosophers give a narrow, simplistic view often accompanied by a forward thrust lower jaw, and a stance that defies one to ignore the gray hair and wrinkles.

I know how I want to be perceived. I want to proclaim practical bits of information on getting along on the adventure known as life. I want a sort of compendium of recipes for dealing with the daily wear and tear that result from the tumbling in the real world.

Successful sages are the ones who listen intently, refrain from interrupting and give respect to others. I have witnessed conversations that are really dual monologues or platforms for personal judgments.

I want to refrain from using trite and predictable terms. For example, nothing elicits a tight face and a sigh from the other person as fast as “When I was your age____” followed closely by “You should _____” and the old favorite, “Why don’t you____.” Yoda doesn’t use that language. He doesn’t “should” on anyone.

I study the changes in society. I don’t wish for the simpler, safer, more predictable days. They no longer exist. I listen to current music, watch the movies, read the magazines, hear the slang, ask questions, in the hopes of becoming useful to younger folks.

I want to present myself as a person of the day backed by all the experiences, mistakes, successes, interests, risks, disappointments, learning and enthusiasm I have for life and love and people. That is the patience and compassion I wish to copy from Yoda. May the force be with me!

Posted by Ronni Bennett at 02:30 AM | Permalink | Email this post

Comments

Sharon, it's apparent that you will succeed in yout goal to be like Yoda. The force is with you and may you dispense your wisdom to all.

I wanted to be the fount of wisdom for my grandchildren, but I find they are ahead of me all the way.

You are right; age is no guarantee of being wise. I know some elders who are silly, inane, and smug. I also know some youths who are wise beyond their years. The only difference I can discern is that elders have more experience to draw from. That should be an advantage, but "it ain't necessarily so."

Sharon, what a great post. A few of my elder friends are so stuck in the past, they are missing the events of today. You've expressed my thoughts beautifully. Thanks.

And with me as well. I keep trying to convince mr. kenju that no one wants to hear "back in my day...", in fact, it turns them off before they even hear what you want to say.

Love this one, Shay! You are my role model for aging. I want to be just like you! Really cool... :)

Kay

You certainly have gained wisdom over your years. I love your sustained metaphor of comparing older, wiser people to Yoda.
A very satisfying read.
This might be a very good one to have published in a local Senior newspaper.
Celia

Wonderful post!

I tend to, when possible, stay clear of those who seem to be stuck, and, as result, miserable.

To "should" on anyone usually ends the conversation. It certainly has that effect on me.

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