Why I like talking to old people so much

“Why do you like going on cruises, Roman? They’re full of old people!”

Well, let me explain why I like talking to old people so much. Several decades ago, I worked in a retirement home. The closer one gets to death, the closer one “gets it.”

They can either go one of two ways – they’re bitter and resentful because they wasted their lives. Or, they’re very grateful for the time they had and want to make the best of what they got left.

I don’t have time for the former. If that sounds cold, so be it. If you had a lifetime to accomplish something and failed, well, don’t blame the rest of the world.

However, the second group are the most fascinating people you’ll ever meet. Why? Because they have a lifetime of experience. Plus, as I said, they “get it.”

I’ve seen people who were formerly very prejudice/racist (it goes all directions, so don’t think it only goes one way) who now dearly value people they would have formerly hated. I’ve seen people tear up when their friend they just had dinner with went to the hospital and landed in the morgue.

This stuff is as real as it gets. I couldn’t make a living off of it though as it pulled my heartstrings way too much. I have difficulty separating my job from the people, and couldn’t stand seeing people I really liked die all the time.

A former co-worker just died today

So, this morning, I got two phone calls from former co-workers. One of the guys I really liked just died. He was several years younger than me, and had a heart attack.

That puts things in perspective. I know I’m not young any more. And I know I have to take my health very seriously as it’s too late to mess around.

He was a really cool guy. Really into music, which of course helped us get along so well.

We weren’t close. I only saw him outside work twice, both times drinking with a group of people. He had a really cool wife, very intelligent, and high ranking in her position.

Death doesn’t get any easier

But back to old people – they’re losing people all the time. And every time, I’m sure it stings. It doesn’t get any easier.

My mother died in 2013 and I’m still somewhat numb from that. I could imagine writing the same in 2023. And 2033.

Death sucks. It’s a part of living though as we’re all going to die someday.

I want you to do me a favor

I want you to do me a favor. Do this today.

Pick one person, and say something really thoughtful to them. Something that will touch them.

It doesn’t necessarily have to be someone who you think has it good since we don’t really know what goes on in everyone’s minds. Folks don’t share everything. Is that happy couple really happy? Or that young executive who you think is making a killing, what if he just found out his kid was hit by a car? Or molested? These are things folks often don’t share because they’re too personal.

The older you get, the more you see random surprises. Like the happy couple that does everything together and one of them is having an affair. Or that hilarious woman at work who’s hilarious to cover up the fact that her daughter has cancer and is probably going to die.

You just never know. So pick one person and make their day.

About

Roman is an artist, composer, writer, and travel junkie.

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