Great post Sebastian. I want to add one point: spend time with people who are older and younger than yourself. This would probably constitute family for most people. I can’t explain why yet (perhaps it gives us a sense of where we are coming from and going), but occasional interactions with old people and young children always leave me feeling richer. I found these interactions especially lacking when I was working away from home in the U.S.
A brief comment, but I think there's lots of wisdom in that. I'm sitting and reflecting on it for a moment.
I think Raunak is on to something here. You can absorb a lot of wisdom, poise, and maturity from people that have been there before you, and pick up a lot of energy, fun, and spontaneity from kids.
I was in a cafe a few weeks ago and a young kid was going around with his finger like a gun going, "bang! bang!" at people. Most of the adults were ignoring him, but I ducked under the table and put up my finger to shoot back - 'bang! bang!"
Anyway, we got into a little shoot-out, and everyone was laughing and having a nice time. Reflecting on that, interactions with people of different ages... yeah, it's good stuff. Cheers for the comment Raunak, that's worth thinking about.
Two weeks ago, I wrote "Damn Inbox - I'm Not Doing Anything Until It's Empty" - and then I cleared it out.
Now the sucker is back up to 45 messages. How'd that happen?
I think here's what happened -
1. My email volume has been going up, and I haven't adjusted to a new routine for it. Before I'd go into my inbox, clear a third of it when I had free time waiting for something, and then do that twice more in the day, and it'd be empty at the end of the day. Now, I'm going to need to set aside more time for it.
2. I'm answering/replying/writing a lot more emails, so it feels like it should be empty - but then I'm leaving one or two messages there that weren't there at the end of the day. This is like spending more money than you've got coming in - it's going to catch up with you sooner or later.
How to Live: A Search for Wisdom from Old People (While They Are Still on This Earth) by Henry Alford.
I picked this up at the library because the title sounded wise and the dog on the cover epitomized what I was expecting. How to Live would be the story about the collected wisdom of old people. In reading it, I would be fast-tracking my chance at wisdom too. I imagined sitting down to talk with my daughter in ten or twenty years and drawing on the gems of enlightenment from when I read this book as a young man. All I really learned though, was that I was wrong.
There are no secrets from old people. My hope for a nicely wrapped package topped with a bow was delivered like a cardboard box affixed with a piece of string tied in a harried and hurried manner. That's not to say this book isn't good.
There is no archetype of wisdom in this book but Alford does find a slew of characters that fill out what wisdom is. It's a bit like a basketball team, only instead of a great player like Lebron James, there's a bunch of decent players with their own unique skills. One of which is Alford's mother.
Somehow, during the writing of this book, his mother goes through a divorce and moves from the northeast to a retirement community in the Carolinas. Both of these things don't seem so much as things wise people do as much as what old people do. As I read about her experiences I hoped that she would share nuggets of wisdom about life since she's had so much time to find them. There were no nuggets of gold, but maybe a few flakes along the way. Alford's mother sits on the floor and that makes her seem young. For whatever reason I liked this. She's always moving in the story, physically and emotionally. I liked this too. Hers is the best story from the collection of interviews in the book.