What advice does an 84-year-old woman have to share with the media generation? A lot, it turns out – and it's good stuff. For Wanda, 84, life boils down to the choices we make. Read her wise words, shared with Karl Pillemer of The Legacy Project, below:
"I write poetry for children and for the old. The media generation escapes me. I really would like to know what is going on, but it all seems as alien as the planet Mars. What could I tell them out of my experience that would have any meaning for them? In my 84-year-old case, I feel that I have lost their attention. If I could re-capture it for fifteen minutes, I would say this:
It all boils down to choices.
Make a bad one in a few seconds, and live with the consequences for the rest of your life. When you are young, lots of the choices have to do with sex and relationships. Use your head, and go carefully.
If you have a chance, get as much education as you can, because it gives you options you would not have otherwise. Find out what your strong suite is, and follow up on it. Don’t be afraid to seek advice. If words are your thing, and you think you might make a writer,
don’t wait until you are 70 years old, as I did.
Those who make a plan for their lives have an advantage over those who just float merrily along. This, in fact, is what I did, and I had a wonderful ride – but if someone had asked me “What do you want to do with your life? You’re only going to get one.” I might have focused more, and perhaps made a difference. But no one ever did. Too late for regrets!
One must make a living, and it is not easy these days. But don’t insist on being a millionaire. Focus on making enough money to bring up your children, educate them, save and invest anything extra for your old age.
If you have children, spend time with them, doing “stuff” like going on beach picnics, going to the zoo, reading poetry and stories at bed time, making cookies, at Christmas, singing with them, using art materials (kids clean up well).
These are things they will remember in later life."
This is the second installment of my "Wisdom of Your Elders" series, looking at the wise words and advice from older generations as we get ready to celebrate National Grandparents Day next Sunday!
Check out the first sassy installment, Old People Open Up About Sex – And It's Beautiful!