Lessons in Life: Stories From Older Minds


Madison Stewart

Senior citizens lounge outside Woodbury Senior Center.

Madison Stewart, Reporter

WOODBURY — You never know what you’re going to learn about yourself by talking to someone else. We all like to think we have it all figured out, but taking the time to listen to people who have experienced life longer than you have can really change your perspective.

By having a chat with seniors from the Woodbury Senior Center, it’s become apparent how much you can learn from the older people in our community. These lessons that were shared and the stories that were told can influence and change your perspective on life for the better. 

The way we learn lessons is not something that we can control. Whether we carry those lessons with us for the rest of our lives, however, is something that you can maintain. 

“Well, I’m 84, and the advice I give my grandchildren is, you gotta look for the positive and not the negative,” said Rose, a member of the Woodbury Senior Center. “Back in my day, it was so, so different, so I know it’s hard to look for the good in the world we live in. I’m just hoping when I’m gone, the world will be at peace.”

Rose is pictured in the living room area of the Woodbury Senior Center prior to sharing her wisdom with our reporter. (Madison Stewart)

You would think after living for so long you would go have a long list of things you would’ve done differently. As humans, we have one life, and to think that we could do everything perfectly is not believable. 

The seniors didn’t give any reason to believe they had regrets in life, but a few certainly had something to say to the younger generation. It’s fair to assume the answers given were ways to reminisce about their teenage days.

“When you graduate, whether you go to college or not, go for your goals, don’t be intimidated, and don’t take any advice from anyone that you feel is not for you,” Rose explained. “If you want your goals, you have to go for them. It’s going to be hard, but life is not easy.”

The world grows with us; it spins despite our thundering footsteps dancing on its surface, and half the time we don’t notice what’s happening around us in our peripheral vision.

When asked about any advice high school students should consider, one senior in particular was very enthusiastic about seeing the world around him.

“I would say to pay attention to the environment,” said another senior citizen. “If you don’t, you’re a fool. When you’re my age, do you know what the earth is going to look like? You don’t even want to be here. You guys better wake up. You better do a lot of work, kid, because you have a lot of work ahead of you. You people are going to save the world; that’s a fact.”

Whether you’re a senior going into the next stage of your life or a rising freshman who feels out of place in a new routine, it’s comforting to know that you still have a lot of experiences to live through. If you take anything from the guided wisdom coming from this small sample of an older generation, it’s to remember to not just exist but live your life above all else. You only get one, so make it a story to tell.