Old People Know Best

Chris Ronzio

I love the satisfaction of flying into a city that turns out to be a little colder than anticipated, and buying what in that moment is the best sweatshirt ever manufactured. Or the pure joy of huddling around a warm meal that is 8 hours overdue. When our bodies tell us that we’re hungry or cold, and urgency forces us to react without guilt or contemplation or frugal logic, the result is immensely gratifying.

But, for some reason, we are a lot more tolerant of work we hate doing, or people we hate hanging out with, or places we hate living. We don’t react.

But not old people.

They react – often to an embarrassing extent – to defend themselves from the things that they took 80 years learning to stop tolerating. You know better than to feed them something they detest, because there is no convincing them to try it. You know better than to ask them for help, because they will know a nephew or cousin more capable to recommend. And if you ask them a question, they’ll answer it honestly, without reservation, and without being politically correct. It’s fantastic!

The secret that they’ve unlocked is to trust their instincts and to express their reactions. They know themselves. They know what they’re good at. They know what they like. And they’ve learned to delegate everything else to someone else.

Luckily, we don’t have to wait until we retire to learn to live a little better. So next time you feel that internal compliance or tolerance creeping up on you, confront it. Speak up. Say no. Just be you.

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