Lessons from T.

by Lindsey Lockhart

Estimated reading time: 2 minutes, 36 seconds

It seems that in today’s chaotic world, the elderly are often overlooked or cast aside so everyone can go about with their insanely busy lives. I believe it’s at our detriment that society ignores the wealth of knowledge older generations have to offer and which, I have recently gained much appreciation for after introducing myself to a new neighbor just two doors down.

T. is 80 years old, a father and grandfather, a widow, former marine, and a ball room dancer who believes he missed his calling as a politician. After handing me a blank business card when I suggested we exchange contact information, we have become steadfast friends. Between our walks up and down the street, tango dancing lessons, and evenings on the front porch, T. has shared with me some sound advice and nuggets of knowledge I think we all could benefit from. Here’s just a few of my favorites.

Keep fighting.

T. was diagnosed with Parkinsons several years ago and is now in the advanced stages of the disease. His doctors advised him to take ballroom dance lessons in order to fight the disease by remaining physically active and his mind sharp. Completely out of his element, T. did as his doctors suggested and it opened up an entirely new world for him. He attends dance lessons 4-5 times a week and has even participated in a ballroom dance competitions. His determination to step out of his comfort zone and fight for his health has been a true inspiration that serves as a reminder to never give up.

Live in the moment.

We all get so wrapped up in what we could’ve done in a past situation or, we spend sleepless nights worried about the days ahead. When discussing a pressing issue with him, T. reminded me that I was getting too far ahead of myself and that I needed to be present in my life NOW. It seems very simply yet, it’s so hard to do but, even remembering ‘to be present now’ has done wonders relieving the pressure I undoubtedly put on myself.

You ARE wealthy.

After settling in on my front porch during my second annual Friendsgiving, T. was surrounded by 20+ friends as we all sat around singing our favorite country songs. During one of the songs he simply looked at me and said, “You know you’re very wealthy, right? To have so many around you that care for you makes you an extremely wealthy woman.” I agreed, sat back and thought about what I wanted the currency in my life to be and, it’s that of family and friends. What’s yours?

Going into 2016 these three lessons from T are what I will be focusing on. I encourage those of you with an elderly friend or loved one to make them feel as important and cherished as they truly are and, are so often not told. You may find yourself where I have, with a new friendship that is a blessing to you both. 

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