My wife and I just returned from an extended trip to Asia where we celebrated our 50 years of marriage. Yes, to the same person. I can almost imagine your initial responses if you are American. That’s great, immediately followed by “wow, they are old.” When we think of old people in our culture, we think of social security, medical issues and senior discounts.
When we shared this significant life event with people on our travels in Asia, they were universally happy for us but more importantly, it elevated their esteem and respect for us. It was as if we were being honored by them. In their culture, older citizens are people who have had many important life experiences and the wisdom and strength that comes with it.
Same couple….different culture, different perspectives. Both are valid observations. The first view tends to distance people. The latter connects people and adds richness to the experience and to the relationship.
So at this time of Thanksgiving, for younger people in particular, think of those who lived a generation or two longer than you as a source of wisdom and life experience. Learn from them. Equally important, if they are your parents or grandparents, or their contemporaries, and have had an important impact on your life in any way, express your gratitude to them. You will be the better for it and it will enhance your relationship not to mention the joy that the person would feel knowing they have made a difference in your life. This Is the Moment!