Wisdom From the Elderly

I've had the opportunity to work several hours a week with a sweet older couple in their nineties.  They were high school sweethearts, he is a World War 2 veteran, they had 7 children, and were missionaries in two countries.  While getting to spend time with them, I've learned a few things about their life that applies to someone of any age.

First, growing old is a choice.  Old is an equivalent to giving up.  If you ever visit a nursing home or assisted living facility; look around at the different people.  There will be the one lady who goes to all the "events" and talks to everyone, and then there will be someone else sitting in a corner.  The lady bouncing around the middle of the room could be 20 years older, but will still seem much younger.  Some people give up, some people just keep on living.  A body wears out naturally, but a soul will only wear out by choice.

Second, no one ever really figures it out.  I work along side a 94 year old woman, and she still doesn't know what to cook for dinner.  She still dreads some chores and still asks me for recipes and advice.  That was so strange to me; her asking me for advice with little things, like if I knew whether fruit would last longer if she covered it or not.  But I also realized: we never get to an age where we have life figured out.  It's okay to not have a perfect schedule, or to never get around to doing everything the internet says you have to do.  It's life, and it is imperfect.  Don't let that fact keep you from living it.

Third, people don't change with age.  It comes as kind of a disappointment to me, I'm afraid.  You know that annoying-boy-thing your little brother does?  That those teenage boys you know do?  That your dad also occasionally does?  Well, guess what?  A 95 year old man does it too.  It works the other way around, of course.  We, as girls, never stop trying to fix guys.
    As young people we tend to view old people as, well, old.  Like, in our minds, they just kind of sit there.  They walk really slowly, don't hear well, and just seem pretty disconnected from the rest of society.  But, actually, they don't change a bit.  If you get to know them, they still crack jokes like parents, flirt like teenagers, and tease like little kids.  They are actually pretty awesome: the wisdom of long life with the goofiness of someone who doesn't care what people think anymore.

Forth, don't sweat the small stuff.  Even "big" things now will be small memories way in the past soon.  Failing a test, knocking out a tail-light in your dad's truck, saying that really embarrassing thing in front of your crush; these all may seem like game-changing mess-ups that make you want to curl in a ball and die.  But don't give up.  No matter what big; it will move into the past if you let it.  Now, there is a difference between stupidity and a mistake. This isn't an excuse to live like nothing matters; more to live with the intention to make the right things matter and to let the little things go.  

And finally, a lifetime is not that long.  My dad would always say things like, "Don't blink," and "I was 8 years old, and then the next thing I knew I was 35."  As a kid I never understood that, like, how on earth could time pass that quickly.  But it seems like just a couple months ago I was 7, and now a whole decade has passed.  The lady I work for has an amazing memory and she has so many stories; of saving her money to buy a cake pan as a gift for her mother, of going on road trips in a Ford Model T, of first meeting her husband and her uncle teasing them about each other, of surviving months waiting for him to return from war, of learning Spanish and living in Mexico and South America, of keeping toys around for great-grandchildren.  Just think of how many million, billion, trillion lives have been lived on this planet.  How many tears, and laughs, and wars, and loves, and memories.  It goes so fast, friends.  Live every day for all it is worth, because it will be gone before you know it. 


Bullet Journaling: Getting Started

   If you've never heard of Bullet Journaling, let me introduce you.  A bullet journal is a system designed to be a planner, calendar, diary, notebook, to-do list, and basically anything else you want it to be.

    My mom and I stumbled across this a few months ago, but I couldn't get the hang of it.  But at the beginning of this year I decided to try it again.  And I love it.  I haven't used it every day, and I'm still working on getting it to do everything I want it to do; but overall I'm excited.

   I decided to walk you through how to set up a Bullet Journal of your own.  I would recommend that you check out the website and read about it in more detail.  But what is special about the Bullet Journal is that everyone's can, and should, look a little different to suit their needs.  I'm showing you what mine looks like.


  First off, pick a notebook.  It should be big enough to be comfortable to write in, but small enough to carry it around.  I switched to a bigger purse to accompany my notebook of choice. (But that means the purse is also big enough for a reading book, a full wallet, and snack.  So, win-win-win.)  My notebook is from the Answers in Genesis's Creation Museum, and it is really good quality. And was pretty cheap.  I highly recommend getting one.  And going to the Creation Museum.  And basically anything to do with Answers in Genesis.

Second, open to the first couple pages and label them: "Index."  This is what holds the bullet journal together.  The idea behind the journal is that you use it for whatever you need, and you keep track of all those different things in the Index.  It is the Table of Contents.  Later I'll show a picture of what mine currently looks like.  I labeled 4 pages "Index", so I don't have to worry about running out.

 Third, set up your monthly page.  I have February filled out already, and I like to stay one month in advance.  On a new page, write the month at the top and assign a day to each line.  Write the number first, and then the initial of the day of the week next to it.  Fill in the events happening that day; like a calendar.  I also have a "Goals" section where I can write ahead of time whatever I want to get done that month.


   Forth, start tracking your day!  This system works where you simply write the date at the top and fill it in day by day.  Because the daily includes your to-do list and notes; it is best to prepare your daily sections the morning of or the night before.  The original Bullet Journal has different symbols for marking to-do's, notes, ideas, and importance.  I use a box for to-do's, a dash for notes, a circle for events and an star for importance.  For ideas or many notes of one theme; I find it easier to create a separate page for them.  I use the notes in the daily for keeping track of how many glasses of water I drink, activities I did that day, and such.

Fifth, make it your own!  The steps I laid out are the pieces of the Bullet Journal that make up the planner part.  The rest is up to you!  So far I have pages for music I want to buy, French phrases (I'm going to Paris this summer!) grocery lists, GF recipes, and more.  For every page (even the ones covered in past steps) mark a page number in the bottom corner, and then add the title and page numbers to the Index.  It is important to write the title first, because you may add more pages later.  For example, my French could be on pages 4, 5, and 18.  This is why the Index is important; you can always just start a new page, without worrying about things being in order.  Don't worry about having all of your daily sections for an entire month next to each other; it will be impossible; unless you don't have any other pages.  Don't be afraid to put pages of notes or lists in-between days.  To start a new page simply put the title at the top, such as "Blog Post Ideas," start a list of ideas, and then add it to the Index. 

And that's it!  I hope this was helpful.  Have you ever heard of this system, or used it before?