I was recently in the beautiful city of San Diego on a business trip. The company I work for works directly with financial advisors, and the average age of a financial advisor has got to be at least 50 years old. Of the huge amount of advisors I met and spoke with, a good chunk of them were over 65 years old. Others I had met by being in the right place at the right time.
Old dudes are absolute gold mines of history and practical advice. They also have very strong opinions, and are much harder to convince otherwise. Their decisions are based off of years of experience and the world view they had engrained into them while growing up during a different time. Of the conversations that I have had recently, a few points have struck near and dear to my heart, as they should yours.
First off, happiness is a choice. You may or may not have heard this a time or two, but hearing it from the wrinkly and age spotted lips of an old geezer gives it a little more punch. A man told me on the plane ride home that even though he grew up and raised his family paycheck to paycheck for a long period of time, their optimistic outlook and ability to find happiness wherever it could be found is what pulled the family through. As I was telling him about my goals in my life, and that I hoped to be as happy as he seemed to be, he told me go after what gives me the most joy, and more importantly, to share that with others.
Secondly, live. It’s pretty damn simple. This generation’s adaptation of this concept is YOLO, but we need to add a little more maturity to that term. Don’t do dumb shit, do the shit that you keep telling yourself you want to do. The old guys were pretty adamant in driving home the point that life is short, and pretty soon it will catch up with us. This came up when talking about me wanting to start a family with Leigha after getting married, but not being sure when would be the right time. While justifying my case I was stopped mid-sentence, and was told to do what feels right and that I am over thinking it. Looks like I may be a father early 2016, God willing.
And another, have an opinion. Know where you stand. To have an intelligent conversation, particularly a (hopefully friendly) debate, you have to know what you’re talking about and why you feel a certain way. In doing this, new passions are found and new friends made. I attempted to talk politics with an old dude while having drinks, and he called me on my bullshit pretty quickly. Give yourself a foundation.
Old people are not just slow drivers on their way to pick up a pallet of Depends™. They are like Wikipedia plus stories and emotions. Try them out! Available at your nearest drugstore and anywhere that serves brunch or food with a senior discount.