On the popular Internet forum Reddit, when a 30-year-old user asked 60+year-old users, “What advice/tips would you give someone half your age?” it not only started a conversation that went viral, many insightful and thoughtful answers came out from the elder users for the younger users on topics as varied as attitude, love, health, finances and exercise.
Can the young learn from the wisdom of their elders? Is their advice still holds true for people half their age? While someone else’s advice or life experience should not be taken as gospel, the experiences shared seem almost timeless. Here’re 20 such priceless gems of life advice from people over 60…
1. Remember that life is like a bank account: You don’t want to spend everything you have right away, but you don’t want to be a miser and save every penny. Yes, you’re only young once, but, with any luck, you’ll also be old at some point. Plan on a career, but don’t let it overcome the rest of your life. Take care of yourself, but don’t make it an obsession. Focus on your kids, but leave room in your life for yourself. Save enough money so that you’ll have enough for the future and for emergencies, but spend enough now to avoid looking back with regret.
2. Don’t chase with your hormones. Attractive people, because of their attractiveness, are seriously overrated. Choose the woman or man for your life by the quality of their character, the warmth of their heart, the kindness in their soul. Really, even if she or he is not the hottest, seek the company of others whose company you really enjoy. The person you marry may be the person who keeps you out of a nursing home. Bodies age and fade, but a deep and abiding love lasts a lifetime.
3. When you meet someone for the first time, realize that you know nothing about them. You see race, gender, age, clothes. Forget it. You know nothing. Those biased assumptions that pop into your head because of the way your brain likes categories, are limiting your life, and others’ lives.
4. Always keep moving, even if just walking.
5. Listen more than talk. And “listening” doesn’t mean waiting for the other person to shut up so you can start talking again.
6. Stop taking life so seriously. Enjoy today. One day you will look back and wonder “I was so energetic why didn’t I enjoy it.” Ladies (I have two daughters) while relationships are nice to have, you do not NEED a man. Focus on yourself, your future and career first. Everyone, work hard for what you have. No one is entitled to handouts. And last, learn to manage money. Invest young. You will need it later.
7. The right job is the job you love some days and can tolerate most days and still pays the bills. Almost nobody has a job they love every day.
8. Marriage is not 50:50. It is 100:100. Remember that when you wake up and when you go to bed. Every day.
9. Collect experiences. I don’t have many regrets, but I do wish I would have travelled more when I was younger. And this: When you have kids you will be time warping. Spend as much time with your children as you can. Turn off the TV, get away from the computer. You will never understand the impact you have on their lives. Make the most of it.
10. Don’t take anyone else’s advice as gospel. You can ask for advice from someone you respect, then take your situation into consideration and make your own decision. Essentially, take your own advice. But don’t take my advice.
11. If you get mad at your partner or anyone, just shut your mouth and cool off for 10 minutes. After you’ve cooled: Talk to them reasonably without any blame. Once you learn this skill you will rarely if ever get angry and never have outbursts.
12. The most important person in your life is the person who agreed to share their life with you. Treat them as such.
13. Books. Read them. All the clichés apply (sunblock, flossing, travel). But don’t stop reading books, lots and lots and lots of books. Crappy ones, disturbing ones, difficult ones, fun ones. You can only live your one tiny life, but with books, you can live thousands more.
14. Stuff is just stuff. Don’t hold onto material objects; hold onto time and experiences instead.
15. A friend will come running if you call them at 2 am; everyone else is an acquaintance.
16. Pay your bills and stay the hell out of debt. If I could have paid myself all the money I’ve paid out in interest over the years, I’d be retired already.
17. Years go by in the blink of an eye. Don’t marry young. Live your life. Go places. Do things. If you have the means or not. Pack a bag and go wherever you can afford to go. While you have no dependents, don’t buy stuff. Any stuff. See the world. Look through travel magazines and pick a spot. GO!
18. Nobody ever dies wishing they had worked more. Work hard, but don’t prioritize work over family, friends, or even yourself.
19. Eat and exercise like you’re a diabetic heart patient with a stroke— so you never actually become one.
20. We have one time on this earth. Don’t wake up and realize that you are 60 years old and haven’t done the things you dreamed about.
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