Lessons from a 91 Year Old

I’m going to say something and I really hope it doesn’t come off as insensitive….But…

Old people love me.

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Hear me out. First of all, I’m not talking about people who are 50 or 60…because hey…that’s young! I’m talking 90s. OLD. But I’m going to be honest, they flock to me. Drum up conversations like we’re Bunko buddies. I think it’s because I have an old soul, and they feel as though they’re conversing with a peer. Like they’re chattin’ it up with a fellow Red Hat Society member. I know…like I said…I’m a catch.

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But there I was, at the fish counter doing the grocery shopping for my parents, when this cute little old man with wirey hair and a big ol’ grin, came up to me and started talking to me. He advised me on how to cook salmon to perfection, complimented my hair, and then casually proceeded to tell me his life story.

And let me tell you, I love talking to the elderly, because I always leave with a little nugget of wisdom or a new perspective.

Anywho, he shared how he’s 91 years old and moved to the US from Germany at age 24 with “diddly squat.” [His words.] He fought in World War II for the Germans, and then flew 40 missions for the US against the Soviet Union.

He told me about how he was the first millionaire in his family, and has three Mercedes an a Porche — pronounced “Porsh-UH.” And how he buys stuffed tilapia every night because “his cat likes it,” and he shares it with her. And yes, he was talking about the animal. 🙂

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Now I’m gonna be honest, at first I was a little annoyed. I was in a hurry, and was doing something on my phone, and here comes this guy out of left field. I’m a New Yorker. Slower walkers and slow talkers are way up there on my pet peeve list. It’s right up there next to people who eat smelly takeout on the subway. Just. No.

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But listening to this stout, weathered old man, I couldn’t help but just love him. You could tell he was hungry for some conversation, and so gosh darn it, I could spare a few minutes.

But he said something to me that really stuck out to me. He looked me dead in the eye and said, “Go after the world, grab it, and run with it.”

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And that really hit me. Here was this 91 year old man telling me to grab the world? It just almost felt a little disconnected.

And I thought about it the whole way home and for a lot of the rest of the day. What could have prompted that jolly little cat man to tell me to grab the world and run with it. That’s not what someone of his…maturity…typically says. I mean, it had to come from somewhere. What in his life would have made him internalize and believe that?

And I thought about it and thought about it. And he had obviously seen a lot of death. Come close to it himself, probably – in all the wars he participated in.

Grab the world and run with it.

This, coming from a self made millionaire cat man, who rolls up to Kroger in a Porche.

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This man gave me that advice, because he had done that.

He had gone after the world. Literally. He left his family and friends and life in Germany, and moved to America with nothing. And he built a really good life for himself.

That was the world that he went after. And dagnabit, he did what he set out to do. So good on him.

It made me think…what is “the world” that I’m going after?

Really. It sounds like a simple question, but when I stop and think about it, what is it that makes me get up in the morning? What gives me purpose? Fulfills the longings of my heart.

And the more I thought about it, it’s not money or cars or the latest handbags or Kardashian whereabouts. Although, if that’s yours, then more power to ya.

I’ve learned more and more here these past three months after my mom’s stroke, that “my world” has changed. Ask me back in 2016 before all this happened, and I would have a drastically different answer…something along the lines of, acting career and fabulous outings with friends and loved ones, with faith coming in a distant third.

But today, I’m singing a different tune.

Today, “my world” is love. The love for my family. Love for my friends. And love for Jesus.

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Because when you’re sitting in a hospital room with an unconscious mother, you learn real fast what’s important to you.

Go after the world, grab it, and run with it.

Again, as has been the norm here recently, God’s timing is just impeccable. Because as I was relaying this story to my parents that evening, what comes in the mail? But a notification letter that I’ve been accepted into SAG – the Screen Actor’s Guild – the union for actors. Which, if you know anything about the entertainment industry, it’s a big deal. It’s what I’ve worked for six years for.

Here I am on the cusp of the “jump off point” of my life, and leave it to God to literally present me with two opposing “worlds” on the same day.

God, once again, you’ve outdone yourself. I’m chuckling at your sneakiness.

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I don’t know why I was supposed to run into that man today. Why I was supposed to pick up that sacred salmon. Maybe he was an angel? Maybe he was just a socially-deprived veteran with an affinity for cats with a sophisticated pallet.

But when we left, he looked at me and said…”I’ll leave you with the German’s Rule of the Day.” And with a wink he whispered, “Stay beautiful.”

If he only knew…

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beautybeyondbones

BBB: Because we're all recovering from something. // For speaking/business inquiries: beautybeyondbones@yahoo.com

288 thoughts on “Lessons from a 91 Year Old

  1. Loved loved LOVED reading this post. Amazing wisdom that elderly man gave you 🙂 haha, I can very much relate to you with the New Yorker mentality! I, too, am a native New Yorker… that need to get to your destination w no distraction is like in our blood! Anyways, I really enjoyed the read!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Congratulations on the SAG! Wow! Yes, definitely something to write home about. 🙂 And guess what, who says you can have SAG/NYC/acting and LOVE/family/home at the same time. They’re just two things and not the whole world so grab both. Also, when we end up with the Porsche, it’s not because we wanted that in the first place, it just automatically comes when you work on the right thing. *wink*. Much love and hugs. xxx

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  3. Congrats on your SAC, With Jesus in you heart He will lead and direct you in the way to go, Where ever your life leads you, He will light the way and you will be a light to others, as you are now. That was a beautiful account in your story,

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Lovely story — and well done on the SAG. 🙂
    Haha well I have no idea what old people think of me(!) but I actually also know a 91-year-old: likewise a World War II veteran (British); he’s not poetic, but every time we speak he inspires me with his optimism and joie de vivre… which just goes to underline the fact that inspiration is not just the province of the young. 🙂

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      1. Aw, you’re most welcome. 🙂
        Ah, it is indeed… it’s a bad prejudice to be ageist, but happens all too often, sadly! It’s wonderful what we can hear when we listen.
        Keep up the excellent posts, my friend. 🙂 x

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  5. Ah B3, at first I was offended for being old, but then you qualified me as young, so it was all better. Why do elderly talk to you? It is because of your eyes announce that you are a nice person. The eyes are truly the window to one’s soul. When I see your photo, I can tell you are someone I can speak to and you’ll actually listen to what is being said. That in itself to the elderly and us who are still young as you put it, is something to cherish.

    Keep helping your parents, listening to people and being you!

    R. I.

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    1. Haha yeah, definitely. And I am also of the belief that you’re as old/young as you feel! 👏👏👏gosh, what a kind thing to say. Thank you. You’re a blessing to me! Hugs and love xox

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  6. Oh, I forgot to add Proverbs 2:1-5

    My son, if you receive my words
    and treasure up my commandments with you,

    making your ear attentive to wisdom
    and inclining your heart to understanding;

    yes, if you call out for insight
    and raise your voice for understanding,

    if you seek it like silver
    and search for it as for hidden treasures,

    then you will understand the fear of the Lord
    and find the knowledge of God.

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  7. I just finished writting about what the world cannot really give. This blog is helpful. Thanks for sharing another perspective on what the world should look like, loving your family, friends, and above all Jesus. 🙂

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  8. Yeah – I know what you mean about slow walkers/talkers. I’m from Toronto up in here in Canada. We’re like the NYC of Canada. Our city, perhaps on a smaller scale than NYC (by far I would imagine), has an on-going energy. People who move here say it’s incredible!

    But the masters (I like to call seniors, masters, because they have mastered through stages of life we have yet to even enter – I figure they earned that title! LOL!) can sometimes have some great words of wisdom.

    That photo of you by the bookshelf – is that a glass of wine I spot to your left? Nice!

    Like

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