Karl Pillemer, a professor of Human Development at Cornell University, spent five years collecting the advice and wisdom from more than 1,200 elders. He asked the question, "Over the course of your life, what are the most important lessons you would like to pass on to younger generations?" Their responses were the basis for his book: 30 Lessons for Living: Tried and True Advice from the Wisest Americans.
Here's what one wise 89-year old woman said about thriving in a difficult world:
"Do not waste energy on wishing things were different. Just look at the problem and ask, "What am I going to do about it?" When you face a decision, really think it through, then don't look back. Make good decisions, handle social impasses will, and you won't carry around psychological garbage-regrets.
Realize that no one can give you offense no matter how bad the comment or act may be. You can choose whether you will take offense or not. This knowledge gives you poise when entering totally unknown situations. If you feel you are a decent person because of the way you regularly handle things, you can learn by a negative comment, but it won't hurt."Dr. Pillemer's website, The Legacy Project, organizes advice from older persons into categories like "Aging Well," "Values to Live By," and "Avoiding Regrets." There are video interviews of elders sharing wisdom, blog posts, and even a page where you can add your own elder wisdom.
We have so much to learn from people who've lived long, full lives. Our task is to help preserve those lessons for future generations!