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1. How to Face Trials

The only sure thing in life is that things will get tough, and no one has learned this difficult lesson better than our seniors. When we find ourselves in the midst of a trial or struggle, it can be easy to feel as though things will never change. But our elders know that life has a rhythm, and nothing ever stays all-bad or all-good. It’s the bitterness that makes life sweeter, and no one understands that difficult lesson better than them.

2. How Little You Actually Know

It’s not until you find yourself in a conversation with a senior that you realize that you’ve got such a long, long way to go as far as understanding how things work in this life. There’s something humbling about hearing the kind of real wisdom to which there’s no shortcut but a long, rich life of learning and exploring. And it’s not the kind of wise-old-sage wisdom you see in movies, full of archaic metaphors or outdated references— seniors as we know them are vibrant and aware of the world as it is now, but can see more clearly because of their wealth of experience.

3. The Importance of Family

For the first couple of decades of our lives, our family line only extends in one direction—back toward history. But we’re actually just one point on a line that stretches on in both directions, toward our ancestors in history and our descendants in the future. Having that perspective adds weight and responsibility to our choices, a responsibility that is known fully by seniors. Speak with any elder that you know and they’ll certainly possess an intimate knowledge of where they came from as well as all the life that’s sprouted from them. It takes a true love for family to remember the birthdays of both your great-grandfather and your great-grandson!

4. How to Laugh

Everyone knows that our elders are the funniest folks around, because they draw from the deepest well of human experience. They know that life is hard, and burdens are made lighter through laughter. Sharp-witted seniors have the experience to know that taking things too seriously will only ever wear you out, and the key to being able to whether any storm is being able and willing to laugh at the rain.

5. What Love Truly Means

Our elders have made sacrifices for their loved ones in their lifetime that we can’t even imagine, and have been honored with acts of love on their behalf, too. When we feel petty in our disagreements with love ones, seeking out the council of a senior can help keep things in perspective. They’ve known a lifetime of love in all its different forms and manifestations, and know how best to give and receive love, too.

6. How to Stop Caring What People Think

Eight or nine decades on earth are far too long to spend caring about what other people think of you, but it’s never too early to start giving up the vice of needing approval from the world in your decisions. Seniors carry a peace with them that can only be found in freedom from worry about others perceptions, and we can stand to learn a great deal from their example. Next time you find yourself debating whether to wear that bright new shirt out of fear of what your coworkers might think, ask yourself— would your favorite elder loved one care? The answer is probably a resounding, “No way!”

7. How to Make Time For What Matters

Ever felt so busy that you didn’t know what to tackle first? You’ve got work to do, errands to run, loved ones to spend time with, Netflix to watch. Life is constantly throwing attention-seeking needs at us that can quickly throw us off balance if we don’t know how to prioritize our time. But do you know who can help? You guessed it! As our seniors move through the stages of their lives, they find that the constant and incessant shouts of the world eventually fade into the background, replaced by the gentle sounds of the things that matter most. That’s the true beauty of reaching the latter moments of life— having time for family, enjoying the world’s natural beauty, taking up enriching activities. Follow their example and you won’t have to wait until your later decades to begin making time for the important things.

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