What I have Learned from Octogenarians


I like senior citizens, perhaps because I am well on my way to becoming one. There are some ways in which I don’t like for people to act their age. Middle-aged people and older people that talk about their ailments and complain about taxes incessantly get on my nerves. But when somebody makes it to the golden years with grace and wit, I admire them. I am old enough to see my parent’s generation fade away, so I have been able to observe several people in their later years. This is what I have learned from those have aged well.

They have processed personal tragedy.  

I have an uncle in his upper eighties whose first wife passed away at a relatively young age and was marred to his second wife only a few short years before she too passed away. Then, a couple of years ago, his youngest child died suddenly Yet, he remains winsome, engaging and downright entertaining. Life dishes out some tragedy for all of us and we will be wounded deeply along the way in ways that will  our lives forever. The faithful find a way to be honest about the wound, but not let it define them.

They enjoy every day.

The same uncle restores antique cars and tractors, even though he can hardly walk. I don’t know how he does it, but he is very passionate about it. Now he has decided which of children will inherit each of his restored mechanical masterpieces. You have to have something that gets you up in the morning, something you are excited about. We need to be active and engaged, somehow contributing something. Our payback is a little more energy and a sense of accomplishment.

They know how to love people.

The people that finish the race with grace are people people. We are meant for relationships and we are happiest when we have someone with whom we can share our experiences. These elderly heroes of mine still have a lot of people in their world that they love deeply; especially; their grandchildren who think their gram or gramps is pretty cool.


About Glenn

Glenn Hager is a blogger, former newspaper columnist, and author of two books, An Irreligious Faith and Free Range Faith.
Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply