Keep Right On To The End Of THe Road
Anyone who knows me has heard me talk about my Uncle Ken, the centenarian. He’s not the first centenarian in my family. My grandmother (his mother) lived until 101 and was just as aware and alert as Ken is. My other grandmother lived to 99. She was a very quiet lady whom we all adored.
I spent most of my early adult life volunteering around seniors. They were veterans of WW1, WW2 and Korea and I volunteered with the Royal Canadian Legion.
Our North American culture often doesn’t give our elders the respect and voice we should. Young people often dismiss them or treat them more like children than the intelligent people they are with a lifetime of learning and wisdom gained from real experience.
The Veterans I knew when I joined are all dead now but I felt privileged to have spent time around them. I watched these men and women who had lived ordinary lives as young people and then had to interrupt that time to go off to war.
I worked alongside them. I admired their resilience and sense of duty to the memories of the fallen and care for each other and the community. They were, in my view, amazing people who I learned a lot from them.
One of the most important lesson I learned from them was the importance of duty and commitment. When they took on a volunteer job, they treated it as though they were getting paid dollars. In their mind, and in mine, the payment was making a difference in lives and the community.
I recently had a conversation with a Legionnaire who, like me, has had a longterm involvement with the Legion. We were discussing how so many community service organizations are struggling to gain members who will step up and take on a true commitment to service.
The lessons those veterans taught me had been so completely absorbed and implemented by me, it came as a bit of a shock to realize my age group didn’t share those values of duty and commitment. Not all, but certainly fewer than the wartime generations.
I happened across some videos on YouTube today of seniors, 85-103 years old being interviewed about their lives. They were asked what they would like to pass on to the younger generations. Here’s some points I picked up:
- 101 is only a number
- So many fond memories. So many people to remember
- Don’t really feel older, except for limitations of age
- Continue to keep active
- People give up too easily in marriages
- Got to keep up with the times… listen to advice from parents/elders and at least consider it
- Be as independent as you can but don’t be reluctant to ask for help when needed
- Be kind and respectful to others
- Never stop learning and doing
- Young people spend too much time on their phones. They should put them down and look at the world.
- Life is what you make it, what you want to get out of it.
- Enjoy every minute, they never come back
- Keep a clean mind, a clean body and plenty of exercise
- Do always more and volunteer to do more for others
- Do things. Do for people. Help your town. It’s a great feeling.
- Do better than what you really have to do
Uncle Ken will not allow anyone to call him old. His mindset is that age is a number and he’s not letting it hold him back. He’s as active as life lets him be.
Last I talked to him, he was busy assembling albums of photos and memories. He’s making sure those who see it when he’s not around will know who is who and what the events were. He’s also written and self-published an autobiography in the last few years.
Recently, I learned he has a new lady friend and they were going to a dance. She’s his age.
I got a smile watching this video of a 7 year old and a 64 year old asking each other similar questions. It’s just over 4 minutes.
Keep right on to the end of the road,
Keep right on to the end,
If the way be long, let your heart be strong,
Keep right on round the bend.
If you're tired and weary still journey on,
Till you come to your happy abode,
Where all you love that you're dreaming of
Will be there at the end of the road.
— Sir Harry Lauder
header image from pixabay.com
Shadowspub is a writer from Ontario, Canada. She writes on a variety of subjects as she pursues her passion for learning. She also writes on other platforms and enjoys creating books you use like journals, notebooks, coloring books etc.
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