Elder Advice

Whenever I see questions or statements about “old age” on social media, I follow the thread and see what the responses are. It’s interesting and entertaining to read through the comments, some of which are hilarious while others are sad.

Here’s an example:

“As an elder, what advice would you share with the younger generation?”

My first thought is, since when do any upcoming generations heed the advice of their elders?

Ninety-five percent of the seventy-three responses contained dire warnings about taking care of your body, saving money, and not wasting time. The remaining few spoke of the joy and wisdom and fun to be had in aging. One person even went so far as to say getting older was the best part of life.

Whether we have negative or positive and uplifting feelings about aging, hopefully, we’ll all get there. That’s the goal, right? Aren’t most of us there already? I’m assuming those people who responded negatively to aging are not having a good experience with the process. Perhaps they’ve had way too many hardships and disappointments. For instance, I imagine the passing of a loved one can’t just be ‘gotten over.’

If asked, I’d give my response with several caveats about my life experience. How can I give advice about anything other than what I’ve experienced firsthand? Yes, I realize not having had the experiences themselves doesn’t stop a lot of people, both young and older. It’s our nature to share an opinion even when one isn’t requested about lots of things we haven’t experienced.

I abhor advice like “get more exercise, don’t drink (or smoke or shop too much or spend a lot or don’t eat too much).” It’s already too late for most of us for this advice to be effective. And besides, how do you respond, in general, when someone begins with “You know, I think you should ….”? Yeah. Immediate mental shutdown!

The key to dealing with advice either from or to elders is to take it lightly, as a fun retort or game. Now, if you want my advice about becoming a writer or about having a pet or about cooking a turkey galantine, I’ll take my time and craft a meaningful response that will hopefully benefit you. Other than that, I’ll probably wonder either out loud or to myself why you asked the question.

How do you respond to these kinds of open-ended questions so the youth of today will be more prepared for what hopefully lies ahead for them?

Finally, what advice would you give about getting older and dealing with all that lies ahead in order to live a full and rewarding and fun life?