So, I was at a coffee shop trying to get some work done offsite. Not sure about you, but I find that on occasion it can be productive to get a change of scenery and work done elsewhere. Anyway, not long after I sat down to get working on stuff, a pair of elderly ladies took the table next to me. There were plenty of open tables, but for whatever random reason they happened to choose the exact one right next to me.
Not a big deal, I noticed but didn’t really care. Who could get bothered by a couple of little old ladies, right? These are the type of people we want to be extra nice to, and should have respect for.
I didn’t get bothered, but I did notice their conversation as it went on. I couldn’t help but notice it because they were extremely loud, or at least one of the ladies was. As a result, I was treated to an interesting discussion on the woes and worries of people who appeared to be in their late 70’s or early 80’s.
Here are some of the things that I heard them say – and note that I’m paraphrasing as I don’t remember exact words (but you get the idea)
“She’s so fortunate. She’s able to travel to interesting places and go visit her grandkids, that must be nice”
“I’m scared of living alone, what if I have a seizure? I don’t want to be laying on the ground alone for days”
“I can’t meet you here too often since the coffee is so darned expensive, I usually go where I can get it for a less”
“At least she has a husband to fix things at home”
“She doesn’t recognize him anymore, her kids are exhausted taking care of her. I hope I outlive dementia”
“He didn’t leave her enough money”
“I’m really lonely. It reminds me of when I was a kid and didn’t have any brothers and sisters”
These are the kinds of things these ladies were talking about. Loud enough for anyone to hear, especially someone sitting right next to them.
I had a couple of thoughts as I tried in vain to effectively multitask through this:
- Feeling bad for them, as their lives seemed to be a far cry from what they might have been when younger
- Getting a good reminder of what people really need much later in life
With respect to the second point, they weren’t talking about driving upscale cars, taking trips to exotic islands, buying a McMansion, or anything of the sort. These types of things didn’t even seem to be on their radar screen.
Rather, they were talking about the basics. Being healthy, having enough money to be comfortable, having companionship and being with family. These are the things they seemed to be focusing on and what they valued.
That all makes sense, and it’s good to get a reminder from those older than us once in a while that when younger should align how we spend our time and money with what’s most important.
My Questions for You
Have you ever gotten a random, out of the blue reminder about money and/or time priorities?
Do you agree that we can actually learn much from older people?