Learn to be Social – From an 80-Year Old Graduate

Jim, 82, told me that as people get older, they need to stay connected – and you may have to work at it. He gave the example of how he has branched out in his social life after retiring:

At 70 or 80 my lesson is: Learn to be social.  Learn to be an extrovert socially.  Enjoy the people around you, don’t criticize them so severely.  Yes there are pluses and minuses associated with all people, but be sociable.  Enjoy their company and share what’s germane in your own experience with people outside.  They too are lonely at times and need somebody to support them.  I happen to live in a county that’s dominated by conservative republicans, there’s some good people among them, I’m learning [laughing].  For a liberal democrat to say that- what heresy!

Let me give a little surprise for you.  I read in the newspaper two years ago an ad by our county development office, chamber of commerce.  And they were advertising for people on the cusp of their careers in their late twenties, early thirties, to apply for admission to a leadership training program.  It was an attempt by the county to find people who were going to be the leaders of tomorrow and give them more background on how the county operates.  I read and thought: This looks kind of interesting. I bet I can meet some good people and expand the circle of my acquaintances if I get involved in this thing.

So I called up the Chamber of Commerce on sort of a whim and I said ‘can you use another person to enroll in you course?’  And they said ‘oh yes, we’re interested in another person’  ‘Do you have any criteria for experience, for age and so forth’ they said ‘no, we don’t have any criteria’. ‘Well I’m rather old, elderly, would you like a senior person in the class with these younger people’, ‘oh yes, that would be beneficial’.  They gave me a scholarsihp to attend this year long course with people that were in their late 20s and 30s.  I made a lot of good friends, I enjoyed myself hugely and I’m still called upon to participate in subsequent events.  And you know, when you think about fundamentals like that, youhave an opportunity to improve, to increase your value to the community around you.  So I had a fun time for a year, I was past 80 when I graduated and we all had a wonderful time.   It was fun.

One thought on “Learn to be Social – From an 80-Year Old Graduate

  1. Such a good idea–for this 80+-year-old. I just became 80 and had a Round
    the World in 80 Years party. Guests came dressed as if from a country they might like to visit or have visited. I have been to 71 and now volunteer in Haiti.
    I, too, have parent-adult children, sometimes, severe feelings of distance even though we live rather close. I. too, always seem to think the act was “my fault” and I should (and usually do) apologize. Strong personalities seem to often clash. I often Mess up the apology—worse–I mess up a compliment and the receiver takes it all wrong. Then I dwell on it for weeks.
    But basically, my reason for writing anything here is to THANK YOU all who have shared a part of your hearts. It has meant a lot to me and hopefully, will soften some feelings I presently hold and am trying to sort. THANK YOU sincerely and God bless each of you. You know, while we are EACH truly busy in own private lives, maybe we can quietly say a prayer for one another–for each of us trying to hold our grown children close yet allowing them the freedom to continue growing and making their own decisions. I believe I will think of us as another one of my volunteer groups, but this one requires no meetings or actual rules.
    Blessings on EACH one of us. MONA

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