I volunteered with the Red Cross as a teenager. working with senior citizens. I acted as their Companion-for-the-Day as I escorted them through the local zoo. I was fascinated by the contrasts in the people I served.
Some seniors wanted no interaction with me at all. They just looked at me as somebody who was there to push their wheelchair. These folks appeared to be disinterested in the exhibits, and I often wondered why they bothered investing their time and money on a trip to the zoo. They didn’t ask many questions; they barely remembered my name. If they had anything to say, it was usually in the form of a complaint.
These were not seniors who were suffering from dementia. These were retirement lodge residents, and they needed to be in relatively good health to live in those lodges.
Then there were those seniors who were a delight to be around. They asked a million questions, and they were interested in every exhibit. They were also interested in me. Even as a young teen, I discovered that those who were the most enthusiastic and alert were the ones who looked at the world as a place they could make better.
Over the years, I’ve noticed that those who habitually focus on what they can give to the world live fulfilling lives well into their 80s. Because their lives are not solely self-centred, they look at life as something new to be explored. Because their passions are outwardly focused, the aches and pains of old age don’t stop them. They keep on going so they can keep on giving.
Even as their bodies wear down, they find ingenious ways to continue to be part of the outside world. I don’t think they made drastic changes to their worldview in their senior years. I suspect they lived an altruistic lifestyle early in life, investing wisely in others.
In contrast, those who passively lived through life, allowing few passions to consume them outside of acquiring possessions and prestige, end up insular in their old age. They reek of boredom, and they view most interactions with others to be irritating. There is little in life that gives them much joy. There is much in life that allows them to complain.
Develop a hunger to keep curious and keep your focus on the world outside your four walls. Stay humble and stay teachable. You will never lose the ability to learn a new thing or two unless you decide to stop learning. It’s not too late, start investing in your future today. Stir up a passion for blessing others! The dividends will serve you better than a fat financial portfolio.
Psalm 92:12-15 – “The righteous flourish like the palm tree and grow like a cedar in Lebanon. They are planted in the house of the Lord; they flourish in the courts of our God. They still bear fruit in old age; they are ever full of sap and green, to declare that the Lord is upright; he is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in him.”
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Until Next Week,
©2020 Katherine Walden