Share Your Lessons

The Legacy Project is devoted to collecting and sharing elder wisdom, and we’d love to hear from you. Please share your lesson in 100-200 words in the comment box below. Feel free to share your own wisdom, or advice that an elder shared with you. 

364 thoughts on “Share Your Lessons

  1. While asking my dad’s friend on any general advice he’d give for younger generations, he responded with: ““If you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans.” He confided in me that while you could plan your life to the fullest, you can’t control everything. In pursuing your dream, don’t be discouraged if you cannot achieve them, but be happy with what you have around you. He also stated that life can be long, and dreams can be achieved even in old age.

  2. My grandma, Gretchen, told me that everyone should live alone before they get married. This is a small part of her larger message: aging is easier if you know how to be alone with yourself. She thinks that some people these days don’t know how to be truly alone with themselves, and it only serves to make them more unhappy. Being content with being alone is key to successful aging.

  3. When I interviewed my grandma, she told me to never lose sight of my dreams and always continue to push myself. She said that I would never know how much I could possibly achieve, if I settled after I reached a goal. After you reach a goal, you should continue to challenge yourself. Lastly, she told me to always be happy and proud of who I am. She stressed the importance of sharing my happiness and joy with as many people as I can because it has the potential to make such a difference in someones life.

  4. This is the advice my father shared with me for my Life History Paper. This project really allowed me to know my father for who he really is, for what his life was really like, and I really enjoyed that opportunity. Hope you enjoy.

    “During my younger years I remember feeling (THINKING) like I was going to live to be 125 – 150 Years Old. Today, I no longer feel (THINK) that. BUT, what I do feel (THINK) is that at some point in time every High School/College Age Youth will have those moments of reflecting back and they will FEEL (THINK)… if I only knew then, what I know now!

    If I would share a message with all of our Youth of the World I would share the same message I have for my Daughters and Sons, Granddaughters and Grandsons.

    EDUCATION (USE YOUR HEAD – Learn to THINK things through) – Education, OR, a useable Skill Set is key to a solid starting foundation upon which you can build. A College Education DOES NOT guarantee gainful employment, BUT, it will provide you with the opportunity of having more options.

    EMPLOYMENT – You have to be able to take total care of yourself, but, you should aspire to find something to do that you are passionate about… don’t settle for “just a job.”

    FINANCE – Learn to live within your means. Once employed (or, earning an income) immediately set up a savings plan. If you do the math you will find that you can set up a retirement savings plan and still receive the same net pay. Learn to bank/save 10% of what you actually bring home. Establish and maintain good credit as you position yourself to buy your own home.

    FRIENDS – Establish and maintain deep Friendships… everyone you meet WILL NOT be your friend. Be selective! Your Friend will be someone who is with you through good times AND bad times. Your Friend will be someone who is like minded and not “always” needy. Your Friend will be someone you can talk to about anything and IT STAYS between you and that individual. Your Friend will be loyal and never betray you. Your Friend will be someone you will never want to put in a position to have to choose between right AND/OR wrong!

    FIND YOUR SOULMATE – Be open and keep your mind and eyes open… your “Soulmate” is out here. Recognize and embrace the possibilities.

    FIND YOUR PURPOSE… The 40 – 60 Hour Work Week IS NOT the reason for being born into this existence, on this Earth? Strive to find out and understand why you are here? Why are you on this planet? Why were you BORN?

    ENJOY LIFE (as we currently exist) – Find ways to give back, find ways to elevate some of those around you… when you leave you will be remembered, and, measured by the footprints you have left and the impressions you have made.”

  5. Alli Arndt
    My nana, Mary Kay, is 83 years old and has overcome many challenges and is full of good advice, which has aided me throughout life. When I asked her what advice she would give to young people she told me to “take every opportunity” because you never know what these opportunities may lead to. Mary Kay remembers that some of her most exciting times in life occurred when she said yes to opportunities and experiences that she was originally hesitant about. She also said that her job opportunities all came from unexpected opportunities and led to a shift in a career
    Mary Kay also advised me to find a good group of friends that you will be able to trust throughout life. She credits the support of her friends for helping her during challenging times of life. Mary Kay advises younger people to have fun and keep a positive attitude throughout life. I find myself very similar to my nana in the way that we try to see the good in life. This attitude helps me to deal with stress in a healthy manner.

  6. When I asked my grammy if she had any advice for the younger generation, she responded with many pieces of advice. The most important advice that my grandmother has for younger people is to follow the golden rule which is to treat others as you would want to be treated. Her next piece of advice was to respect others, even if you don’t like them and to be kind and understanding towards the world and all of the diversity that it brings. Don’t be selfish, do things for other people without expecting anything in return. She emphasized that fact that everyone should try to perform at least one kind action towards someone else every day. Eat healthy. Protect the environment. Learn another language. My grandmother wishes that she had known more about other cultures in her youth, and been more aware about the cultures outside of the United States and her heritage. Her last pice of advice for me to take away from this experience was that money isn’t everything, and that money cannot buy happiness.

  7. My father Bob, who is 61, spent 30 years as a businessman making vital business deals around the world through his company. His advice came from his job as a communicator. He urged me to understand myself– how I communicate and act socially (i.e. social styles). He said knowing how you communicate as a person is vital to knowing yourself. Secondly, once you know yourself it is helpful to identify how others communicate socially and work with that knowledge. He explained that life is full of opposites and balances. A good example he gave was how he and my mom, who have been together 30+ years, differ socially in a variety of ways. My mom is certainly amiable and analytic, while my dad is a clear leader and limits emotional expressions. Together these opposite styles can work together nicely. Being aware of these concepts at work can help us decode the chaotic world around us according to Bob.

  8. My Uncle Charles game me advice that I think a lot of people in his generation missed out on. He was born right at the hight of baby boomers, but had 8 other siblings to help care of and was enlisted into the army before he was even 20. The advice he game me was that you need to get an education in some way or form so you can have a better life going on. “The more you know the more you know, the better you can do.” He didn’t get that chance, and he wants others to be able to experience it.

  9. After interviewing Thelma Unger, an eighty-seven-year old who has lived a bright life, I gained valuable insight. She emphasized taking advantage of positive opportunities that present themselves. She says one must know what is good for them because no two people are the same and when it comes to finding a career you must find a passion that makes you excited to wake up every morning. The most interesting advice I received from her was do everything in moderation. Whether it be work, leisure, etc. and I found this interesting because I think it reflects an age difference between cohorts. Her cohort certainly differs from the cohort that group up in the early 2000’s and moderation for each has a distinct difference. Her advice continued with not worrying about everything that comes about. Be concerned about the major aspects of life and don’t sweat the little things or you will waste time you don’t have. Finally, Thelma said, “If you don’t have your health, you have nothing.”

  10. I asked my grandmother Linda for some advice for young adults. She said to always be honest and respectful to others. She then said that young adults should do what they want with there life, not what others thing they should be doing. She said that if you go to college go to the one that you want and pick the major that you want. If you work hard in school that it will pay off. She also emphasized the importance of family. She said that talking and being honest to one another is a key to being happy.

  11. When I interviewed my grandpa, he told me many different things that he believes every one should live their life by. First he told me that whenever I am ready to give up, I need to remember the passion, pursuit, and obstacles I went through to get to the position I am in today, and then reconsider if giving up is the right option. He also told me that “You have to go through the bumps in the road that will make you stronger once you get over them, or else you will never make it”. He believes that everything in life happens for a reason, so when times get difficult, you should attack them straight on instead of avoiding them or going around the “bumps in the road”. In order to grow individually, we need to build up strength from our past experiences that have been difficult for us to push through. He also thinks that the easy way out, is rarely the right way out, because challenging ourselves in all aspects of our life is important for personal growth. If people are too easy to give up, they will have regrets further in their life, and they will never get to experience the fullest life they could have had.

  12. I recently had the opportunity to interview one of my favorite people in the world – Elizabeth Burton, my volunteering friend that I met after doing some work at a local museum. Some of the best advice that I have received:
    – Marry out of respect, not love or lust.
    – You can be raised as an atheist but then find your path in religion.
    – Having side jobs enables you to learn more about yourself and your passions.
    – “We’re all just human beings that are a bunch of jerks.”
    – Marry someone that you want to, even if your father is a jerk about it.
    – There’s a way to find a solution to even the scariest looking problems.
    – Be passionate about what you care about. Stand up for your beliefs.
    – Be persistent on things. Keep forging forwards. No regrets.
    – Stop thinking about yourself and start thinking of other people. Listen and see if you can help with anything.
    – Every single person is a good person inside. But everyone’s wrapped up with themselves that no one wants to reach out.
    – Aging isn’t like tests – you don’t know when anything is going to happen to anyone at any time so you gotta worry about today and not focus on anything else.

  13. I interviewed Ms. Fran, she said that we should strive to do things differently because she did not want to repeat how her parents raised her siblings and her. she stated that we should be kind to everyone other no matter the religious groups. What i learned from talking to her is that, it is okay to questions things you do not know or believe in, you should seek to attain knowledge and not to take whatever people tell you without understanding it completely.
    During the interiew, she talks about as you are aging, the things that become important is spending time with loved ones and creating memories.

  14. Old age isn’t so great for poor people in ill health. I know a woman (not me) in constant pain. She’s poor. Her spouse is semi-paralyzed and has dementia in a nursing home, their savings gone. The book seemed to talk to white reasonably well-to-do elders. How many people on welfare, Hispanic immigrants, etc. were interviewed or comment here? I may be wrong but it seems a very privileged, white view of old age. I say this as a privileged, reasonably prosperous white person.

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