At age At 72, what words of wisdom would you impart to your progeny? 

Jane Hallowell, Age 72

My sons gave me as a gift a year ago. This involves writing answers to questions they ask me once a week. It also allows me to choose my own questions to answer if the ones they send me don’t inspire. I just finished my last entry, below. (It’s rather ironic that so much on this list came from difficult people I’ve had to deal with in my life. They have been some of my best teachers.) Next, I will proofread the book and order the final copy. It’s been a fun project, and I have been able to include photographs with each entry. What a great legacy to leave for my family!

At age 72, what words of wisdom would you impart to your progeny? 

Show compassion for others. It’s normal that many people aren’t going to behave the way you think they should. Accept this, and let it go. You will have a much happier life if you do.

Don’t be afraid to communicate, and confront if necessary. Try to do this in a state of calm rather than anger.

Treat others the way you want to be treated — the good old Golden Rule concept.

When you are walking with someone, walk with them rather than taking off ahead of them. Show some respect. I used to walk ahead of my Dad and told him that I needed to walk faster to get my exercise. I now regret having done this. I should have walked with him and taken my own faster walk on my own at another time. It would have been the kind, selfless thing to do. I know now that it makes me feel bad when people do this to me.

Thank people for whatever gifts they give you. Show appreciation. It’s part of having good manners.

Show appreciation to whoever cooks a meal for you. It’s also part of having good manners.

Rejoice in others’ successes. Don’t be jealous or competitive about it.

Comment about and encourage people when they create something and are especially excited about it. Ignoring this hurts their feelings.

Listen to what others have to say. Ask about them. It’s all not about you.

Don’t make knee-jerk decisions. Think through matters that upset you before taking any kind of action, rather than responding instantly in a state of anger.

Pay attention to red flags in relationships. Things invariably will only get worse in time — unless you are lucky and can talk through tricky situations with your partner and both parties are amenable to change.

Try and think about how the decisions you make in life will affect you and others years later.

Don’t push yourself at people. If they don’t respond, they aren’t interested.

Whether you are a mother-in-law, a father-in-law, daughter-in-law, or a son-in-law, please try your best to avoid the typical stereotypical toxic relationship that so often develops. Read about this subject before becoming one, or talk with others about their experiences with respect to this dynamic, so you can prevent misunderstandings. Find some way to love and respect one other. It will make for a happier family and will be so worth it in the long run.

Remember that there is always enough love to go around.

Show compassion for difficult family members or people. Difficult people are so for a reason and most likely are suffering in ways that you will never know. At the same time, don’t be difficult yourself.

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6 Responses to At age At 72, what words of wisdom would you impart to your progeny? 

  1. Roberta Kornfeld Gordon says:

    Having turned 79 in December, 2021, I’m very proud to have lived to be in my 80th year! I, who had too many deaths in my life…beginning in September of my freshman year of high school, never thought I would live long, so I am utterly amazed and ever so grateful.

    I just found this site tonight and am eager to learn more from others about how I might navigate the next steps of my journey.

  2. Caryn Isaacs says:

    It goes so fast. Don’t put off making that visit or call to family and friends. You think you have all the time in the world when you’re in your 20s 30s 40s 50s even in your 60s but then bam you look around and it’s not your work that gives you joy. It’s the close relationships, even the virtual ones.

  3. Miriam Savir says:

    Never, ever stop learning. Be a life-long learner. Find a passion, organize a hobby, have an interest that will enable you to enrich your life. Research, read, report, write, record, renew. The world is now at your fingertips (and at your local library as well!), as close as your computer. Don’t contract as you age, expand.

  4. Ina Steidle says:

    Thank you for sharing your wise reflections. I’m inspired by them, so they are to be printed, for easy reference. Next year, I’ll contribute on this topic, but will say now that developing the capacity for compassion and forbearance, as early in life as possible, seems to be invaluable for all.

  5. Jane Hallowell says:

    Hi, Susan,

    Thank you for responding to my post. I was just talking with a friend today about how it’s so true that we need to go through various struggles in life in order to learn and, consequently, be able to offer words of wisdom. There’s no getting out of it.

    Your words were so special.

  6. Susan says: is a super idea. Some do recordings like I did at my oldest granddaughter’s school. Her mom was volunteering and they had a list of questions to pose, all of which were recorded. I was given a copy. What is especially adorable is that both of our voices are on the recording.

    What would I like to impart to progency? Kindness. Patience. Take good care of yourself. Humans have their challenges. Don’t let theirs impact on your life. Reframe them. Oh, if we only knew this in our youth.

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