Life's lessons: Aging is mandatory, learning optional in this world


As I approach my 92nd birthday the 13th of this month, I suddenly realized that if we keep on living, we get old. Getting old is not a choice. Whether we learn anything while we are living to old age is our choice.

I have been reading through Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus and Deuteronomy recently, and I suddenly realized that Moses wrote all that when he was 120 years old!

Of course, God was dictating it all, but I think if I had to copy the first five books of the Old Testament at my age (and I still have a firm handwriting) it would be a formidable task.

But I digress. Actually, that is one new idea that has just occurred to recently. I decided to list some of the things I have learned while I have been alive on this blue ball that is spinning around the sun turning completely around in twenty-four hours and going around the sun in 365 1/4 days.

Of course I learned to walk and talk. I learned to return the love that my family showered me with. I learned my letters and numbers before I went to school and learned to read almost magically. I have never been bored since I learned to read.

I loved learning as a child — even arithmetic. Back before we had little machines to do basic math for us, we had to use our brains to recall addition, subtraction, division , and multiplication facts. We memorized history dates and geography facts, as well as learning to spell words.

Besides what I learned at school I learned lots of other useful ways to make life easier for me, such as:

It is more fun to make friends than to make enemies.

You can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar. (Be nice to people. Don’t insult them.)

It is better for you to have your boss like and trust you.
If you always tell the truth, you don’t have to keep telling another one to cover the first one.

God’s Ten Commandments will keep you out of trouble if you obey them.

It is important to work enough to have enough money to live on.

Pay off your credit card in full every month.

Save up the money to buy the things you want but do not need immediately.

Our children are our most precious possessions. See that they are cared for properly.

Our decision to trust Jesus to save us is the most important decision we make in our lifetime.

I could go on and on with things I have known for a long time, but here are three that I have learned most recently:

I learned that if the Brookdale cooks don’t use the Brookdale recipes when fixing our food, someone from Corporate headquarters will fire our head chef, no matter if the recipe used tastes better than Brookdale’s.

I have learned from the recently hired young servers that “No problem” and “My pleasure” are acceptable answers to “Thank you” as well as the traditional,”You’re welcome.”

But the most painful lesson I have learned lately is that if I have an opinion or vote for someone that my friend does not believe or is against, that person who disagrees with me hates me and is no longer my friend. The death of friendship if I do not think like my friend does is a heartbreaking lesson to learn in my old age.

But I hope to keep on learning as long as I live.


June Rice is writer and a retired teacher living in Louisville.


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