Vignettes in Aging — Curiosity


“How do you feel about it?”

“Is that really true?”

“Why not?”

All good questions. Sometimes difficult questions because we’re afraid to answer, or because we’re too embarrassed to answer, or because we don’t have the answers. We’re used to the why questions when they come from kids. It’s a little sad that, as we get older, we think we should know everything, so we quit asking the questions.

Elders benefit significantly by continuing to be curious in our later years. Curiosity can help us survive and thrive.

Gaining knowledge and being vigilant increases our happiness – regardless of our age. More positive emotions come out of being curious about the world around us. The more curious we are, the more we learn about others – those of different cultures and backgrounds – and the more we expand our empathy for those differences. Expanding empathy goes hand in hand with being more open and accepting of other ideologies, even if we don’t fundamentally agree with them.

Innately curious people generally lack a hidden agenda in their questions – they just want to learn and grow. They are more non-blaming and non-shaming, focusing rather on working together and exploring myriad solutions to any problem.

Being curious about that person next to you signals caring, fellowship, and interest. Instead of rushing to share your story, experience, or lament, be curious enough to ask the other person about theirs. You might be rewarded with some new insight into them and their lives.

Curiosity leads to collaboration.
Curiosity leads to innovation.
Curiosity welcomes surprise.

Be self-confident to say, “I don’t know.”
Be curious to seek the answers.
Be curious enough to find out why.