By: Peg Carmany
I first began to work in senior housing in 2002, and it’s remarkable to me how fast those 15 years have flown by. As I look back, I think my biggest misconception at the beginning was that I was here to help them. In reality, they have given me invaluable gifts of knowledge and friendship.
Here are but a few of the things I have learned from my residents over the years:
- Adversity does not have to define you. If you get a chance to live into your 80s (or 90s) (or 100s!), life will definitely throw you some curve balls. Poor health. Unexpected loss of a loved one. Financial troubles. You name it. And at some point (and I’m not entirely sure at what age, but it will happen), you grieve, you adjust, and then you accept that everyone is carrying around something that is burdensome.
- Once you realize #1, you are kinder to others as a result.
- Gratitude is important. It sounds trite, “Count your blessings.” But it is not trite, it is important. Almost always, there is something, oftentimes more than one thing, to truly be grateful for, and to acknowledge.
- If you become a good listener, most people will think you’re a terrific conversationalist.
- Life is short, and it goes by quickly, and none of us are getting out of here alive. Don’t waste a day lost in meaningless details. Know that “This too shall pass,” eventually.
Now in 2018, I continue to remind myself how much our residents have helped me grow as a human being. I am better at handling the curveballs that life throws my way, whether it’s at home or at work and I strive, every day, to express my gratitude in a variety of ways. But most importantly, I truly enjoy spending time with the people who have taught me so much. There’s always room to grow.