I was reading an article written by a teenager about her problems with depression and an eating disorder whilst at University. She said that she was sent to a Counsellor for help but the lady was old and how could she know what it was like to be a teenager. I was astounded that an intelligent young lady could believe such a thing, does she think the lady was born old?
The lady had been a child, pubescent, a teenager, a young lady, possibly a mother, may have had fertility problems, relationships, good and bad, seen her own children through their teens, a middle aged woman, been menopausal … and was now an older woman. She will have lived through many failures and successes, ups and downs and survived them. It is a privilege to grow old, not everyone makes it. With age comes an understanding of all the different phases of life, including teens. How many teenagers know what it is like to live through any of the phases of life they will one day face themselves? The biggest lesson age teaches is ‘.. this too will pass’.
Young people rarely stop to think one day they too will be an old person, or think what it must be like to be dismissed as having nothing to offer any more. Every old person you meet has had a life, many if you stop to listen to them would surprise you with the things they had done in their life. One lady I met some years ago walking her dog on the beach, looked every day of her eighty something years. She had to sit down at regular intervals to rest weary limbs and catch her breath. She told me about her experiences living in war time, her modelling career, the men who had pursued her, the different businesses she had run, her marriages and her children. This would be quite a life today but in the 1930’s it must have been brave, yet now people were walking past her without giving her the time of day?
How much could that teenage girl learn from listening to her story?
We must remember we will all be old one day, if we are lucky, and in the meantime we have the choice to live each day as if it means something. Release the self destructive behaviour and enjoy the present moment. The lady on the beach still felt twenty years young inside because who you are inside your body does not age! Age is between the ears … so tap into the wisdom of the elderly if you get the opportunity, you may learn something you come to rely on one day.