“Each elder had different lessons to teach: from Fred, the power of gratitude; from Ping, the choice to be happy; from John, acceptance of death; from Helen, learning to love and be needed; from Jonas, living with purpose; and from Ruth, nourishing the people who matter. For centuries societies had relied on elders for these lessons and more. It was only in recent times that this wisdom went unheard. I wasn’t blazing new ground, but rediscovering some ancient connections. The blazing part was how happy the lessons made me, and how I wished I’d learned them earlier.”
“Here was a lesson in acceptance and adaptation. In a culture that constantly tells us to overcome our limitations, sometimes it is more productive to find ways to live with them. For people on short time, short-term fixes—or acceptance—are sometimes the best answer. And we’re all on short time; older people just understand this more viscerally.”
“Seeing their future this way stripped away any illusions they might have had about themselves—that they were really some better person waiting to be brought into being, richer, happier, better-looking, thinner, more beloved. Instead, they could look in the mirror and see who they really were; all the future would do was pare them back even further.”
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