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Idle Time

More learnings from 'Grandad'

A year and a half ago, I was introduced to a lovely 89 year old named David. On just about every Tuesday since, David and I have had a cheeky coffee and a chat, pondering the state of the world and our place in it.

An original green and a humanist, David is sceptical of religion and passionate about the environment and, hence, our chats often meander, touching on philosophy, happiness, purpose, our planet, the arts, science, politics. Given the depth of our conversations and his background as a teacher at a local public school, I feel that he's selected me as his student, albeit a mature one :). At 90, David came to me as a welcome inspiration for how to age gracefully.

In my words, here are a few of his top tips for a long life:

  • never stop learning--always have a book on the go
  • keep jogging until you're 80, then get a dog and walk 5 miles a day
  • go (almost) vegetarian 
  • write essays to force yourself to form convincing arguments--share each one with at least one person
  • get your hands dirty
  • get a pet when life's a bit lonely 
  • make friends across all age groups so that you'll always have someone to talk to
  • stand up strongly for what you believe in and be willing to be unpopular (though always polite) in speaking our minds
  • listen to BBC radio

Through our chats, I've come to realise that I had much to learn from David. Amongst other things, I've learned that there's no point thinking about the past or the future...we must live in the moment and make the most of every day.

Unlike the friendships I form with others in my own lifestage which I would hope to see continue for decades if not a lifetime, I realise that the days and years of my friendship with David will be short. But how rich a blessing they have been...and long may our Tuesday chats continue.

 

And if I could give you a bit of advice? Befriend people who are older than yourself...their perspective and support is priceless and those coffee mornings may shine some light on their days, too.

Unlike the friendships I form with others in my own lifestage which I would hope to see continue for decades if not a lifetime, I realise that the days and years of my friendship with David will be short. But how rich a blessing they have been...and long may our Tuesday chats continue.

And if I could give you a bit of advice? Befriend people who are older than yourself...their perspective and support is priceless and those coffee mornings may shine some light on their days, too.

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