Life Lessons From Centenarians

Pearls of wisdom: 10 lessons centenarians can teach the young

Centenarians can share pieces of advice and suggestions that are ripe with experience and knowledge.
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A centenarian looks frail. Their bones are weak and their eyes are cloudy. They have seen almost everything there is to see. From wars, pandemics, and toppling governments to finding love, becoming parents, and losing dear ones, centenarians have travelled far and wide in the journey of life. That’s what makes them the best teacher there can be.

Those who are young, who are at the start of their journeys, are full of energy. They have dreams in their eyes and hopes in their hearts. They haven’t seen life much or how difficult it can become. They don’t know what lies ahead, just like an explorer who has set sail to find new land. Will they survive all the storms in their paths? They don’t know. That’s what makes them a student with a lot to learn.

Centenarians can teach youngsters what life is all about. They can share life lessons that are ripe with experience and knowledge. A centenarian can answer questions others don’t know exist. Whether it’s your relationship, work, or wellbeing, centenarians can help youngsters avoid mistakes and learn the realities of life.

Don’t worry too much

Young people who are either going to college or working their first jobs tend to worry too much. They overthink issues that don’t deserve any thought. They stress over things that are merely a speck of dust in the larger picture of life. But when you see life in retrospect you realise how little your problems were. Learn this lesson from centenarians. They know how important our peace of mind is. In the grand scheme of life, you should know how to let of go of things that serve no purpose whatsoever like your anger and fears.

Be patient when it comes to love

Love is one of the warmest feelings in the world. Everyone longs for it but it can also become an instrument of stress if you are not patient with it. And patience is not a strong suit for millennials. Just look at the rates of divorces these days. Love has become a byword for stress. Richard Schwartz, associate professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and a consultant to McLean and Massachusetts General hospitals, says “It’s never been proven that love makes you physically sick, though it does raise levels of cortisol, a stress hormone that has been shown to suppress immune function.” When it comes to matters of heart, the key is to be patient. Good things come to those who wait, right? For centenarians, there was no internet or smartphones to stay in touch with their loved ones. But they were patient and that’s why they experienced the type of relationships that weathered all kinds of storms. It’s an important life lesson for any youngster in love.

Find joy in little things

The meaning of happiness is different for everyone. But a majority of people link happiness with something grand or materialistic. According to a Wells Fargo study, millennials associate satisfaction and happiness with stability and financial responsibility. Yes, money can buy a lot of things. But all shiny objects lose their glow after some time. If you can find happiness in little things, life will never look grey to you. It’s a valuable life lesson that you need to keep in mind.

Centenarians enjoy their walks, having the warmth of the sun on their faces, watching their grand-children or great-grand-children play. They have learned where true happiness lies, in the smallest of things.

Make time for family

Family is forever. This is the reality of life, sometimes, which we tend to forget. Especially, when you’re in your 30s. You begin to focus more on your job, to pay for the bills and mortgages. As time passes, you give less and less time to your family and spend more time planning for the future. There is nothing wrong with this, but keep in mind that time waits for none. As the Polish Proverb goes, “You have a lifetime to work, but children are only young once.” Only when you’re in your autumn years, you realise what you have gained and what you have lost. Remember this lesson on life and make sure “I should have spent more time with my family” are the not words you ever have to speak.

Travel when you can

American writer Richard Bach once said, “The best way to pay for a lovely moment is to enjoy it.” That means basking in every moment and enjoying life to the fullest. So how do you live every day? By doing things that can widen your horizons, learning new things, meeting new people, and doing all kinds of things you haven’t done in life. Travel is one way to achieve all of this and more. This is another important life lesson you need to learn so you don’t keep your travel plans for the future. Travel now, while you are young.

Save for a rainy day

Life is unpredictable. Some days, everything may seem fine but the very next moment, life can capsize. You can’t avoid tragedies but you can always prepare for them. For instance, if there’s a medical emergency or you lose your job, you’d need a plan to weather such rainy days. Most people learn this the hard way. But you don’t have to if you’re prepared.

Find something you love to do

Life is too long to do something just for the sake of money and security. If you want to live an adventurous life, find something you love to do. Ask yourself what you’re good at and what gives you joy. Once you have figured that out, indulge in those activities. In the end, many wonder if they’d truly enjoyed their life. If you could find something you love to do, your answer will always be a yes.

Never compare yourself with others

Comparison is a waste of time and energy. If you want to compare yourself with someone, look in the mirror. Be better than the person you see. That’s all you should think about. And not what social media apps show you, a broken reality. Remember, you can’t compare apples with oranges or a fish with a bird. Everyone is unique and beautiful in their own ways.

Take care of your body

American entrepreneur, Jim Rohn once said, “Take care of your body. It’s the only place you have to live.” We seldom think about our health when we are young. We eat and drink as our cravings dictate. Only after years when your body begins to show warning signs, you realise chickens have come home to roost. If you will respect your body, your body will reward you with longevity. And when you will become old and look back in life, you will thank your younger self for making your life easier in your autumn.

Don’t carry the cross of regrets

Regret is one thing everyone wants to avoid. Because the pain of regrets is one of the worse in life. It can break your spirit and fill you with never-ending grief. Questions like ‘I should have done that or why didn’t I do anything? will never stop haunting you if you don’t chase your calling when you have time. Imagine yourself as a 100-year-old. Ask yourself, what are the things you’d never want to regret doing? Then do those things.

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