Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Reflecting at 92

[I'm contributing to the Juicing Series over at WorkingKansasHomemaker today.  Holla!]

A newly acquainted neighbor of ours is not too far off from the title of Centenarian.  She still lives in her house independently and Harpo and I even caught her doing yard work the other day!  She is incredibly sharp and really fun to get to know.

I've sat with her a few times in the last week while she easily recalls facts, names, and dates quickly in her stories.  Did I mention she was born in 1920!!  Is anyone else so enthralled by her age and life experience??  What she must have seen and known through the decades?  How different the world must be today than the one she grew up in.  Record players to iPods, typewriters to laptops, and everything in between.

In the 1920's women gained the right to vote, The Great Gatsby was published, and penicillin was invented!  Can you imagine a world where those things are new?  I am so intrigued by her and what almost 100 years of life means.  Oh and she is a great-great-grandmother.  Two greats!

But I can't help but detect hints of regret now and again in her voice about her life and choices as she shares.  More than once she has expressed sadness over relationships or loneliness in her current state.  Thankfully, she has also reflected on good memories and joy-filled times.  Which I am so glad to know and honored to hear.

More recently I read an article that listed the Top 3 Things Elderly People Wish They'd Done More of in Life and it made me think of our neighbor.  Here are the top 3 things older folks would say they would do differently looking back...

1. They wish they had left more of a legacy

Meaning they wish they had had done something that could be handed down, a gift to the preceding generation.  This might include for some a business or a family heirloom.  We think a legacy of godliness -one where we love and follow the Lord fiercely and teach our children to do the same-would be the most valuable legacy we could leave.

2.  They wish they had reflected more.

It seems elderly people wished they would have taken the time to "zoom out" more often to think, reflect, and observe what was going on around them.  Even though they have an abundance of time to think now, they wish that in the midst of a hectic life or busiest seasons they would have reflected upon their circumstances then.  Seems wise to me!

3. They wish they had taken more risks. 

According to this article they did not just wish they had taken more crazy, adrenaline-pumping risks but also risks in their career, relationships, things they enjoyed doing, and general day to day activities.  Perhaps they wish they would have gone for that career change, spoken up in a relationship, or written that book they had always wanted to write.

Getting to know my neighbor, through a morning hello while she is in the yard or being invited into her home for a talk, I want to soak up wisdom from her.  Spoken and unspoken.  So here is what I feel challenged to ask of myself today and periodically, join me....

What kind of legacy am I leaving?

Am I taking time to reflect?

What risks can I take today?

Time with my neighbor is interesting, heart-breaking sometimes, and very inspirational.  We have so much to glean from the older generation.  I don't know how long I'll live but I hope to say I'm leaving a legacy, reflecting, and daily risking.  

It must be true what they say-to listen to your elders.  They seem to know what they are talking about!

My Journey to 1000 Gifts
413. Quiet
414. Patience and endurance muscles being regularly worked out
415. Hearing what Ryan is learning in the season of suffering
416. Chalkboard fridge for inspiration
417. Writing through Titus 2
418. Dreams of book writing
419. Long naps
420. Ryan taking care of ME during a migraine
421. Waiting on the Lord to heal, redeem, and restore
But I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God

Acts 20:24

I'm so glad you're here!  I hope you're encouraged by what you read and spurred on to pursue the heart of God.  To make sure you don't miss anything join us over on the sidebar or add our button to your page.  Be blessed!


  1. I relate so well to this post! I've worked as a life story writer, so I've heard a lot of people's stories. Particularly old people. It breaks my heart to hear regret in their voices, and I think those three things they wish they'd done more are right on. Thank you!

    1. I loved the wisdom the article shared too Erica! How fun that you've been able to hear stories and I'm sure you've learned so much in the process. I love your blog too-thanks for stopping by :)

  2. What a beautiful post Carly. I love the three pointers- definitely things to think about. I know I'm trying to live more of a life of faith, which can be "taking a risk" in this earthly world (like starting a family right now for us!). "zooming out" was interesting- I like that phrase for looking at the big picture. Thanks for sharing!

    Blessings friend,
    Working Kansas Homemaker (.com)

    1. Ah Nicole I just got so excited about you two starting a family!!!!!!!!! YAY! A big risk and faith filled step, no doubt, and one that will be full of blessings :)

  3. Yes love this Carly! When we have an eternal mindset and aren't just living for the moment we'll glorify God the best! Love your wisdom friend!

    1. Totally Angi-your words pulled together the 3 points really well. The way thye regretted living it seems was when it was for self or momentary. Living for Christ and for eternity seems to wipe away regrets :)

  4. These are great thoughts, Carly, and a great take-away from that article you read. And what a pleasure to hear about your relationship with this neighbor. I commend you for seeing the value in this woman's story and for applying it so aptly to our Christian lives. Thanks for sharing this on B&BB this week. Love it! May God bless you in special ways for your attention to this woman and the message God gave through her.

    1. Thanks Gail! Love your blog and link up. I'm always encouraged by what you write.

  5. This is a lovely post and I hope to meet Lillian soon. From my experience I would add a #4 to your list -- don't procratinate and move forward with goals and dreams. There are so many things I have "been meaning to do" but time goes by so quickly. Blessings to you and your new friend.

    1. Ooooo that is a good #4 to add mom! Next time you come over lets go visit her! She will steal us for at least 1/2 hour tho :)

  6. I hope I will be incredibly sharp and fun to get to know if I get close to 100!

    1. Me too!!! She is SO fun and witty. Doesn't miss a thing :) She told me the other day that when she tells people her age that they automatically expect her to be "LOOOOONY" (insert some crazy hand motions!). Ha ha she is too awesome!

  7. I LOVE to hear these kinds of stories. They [usually] carry so much wisdom with them from what they have gathered through out the years. Thanks so much for sharing this with us. Great read today! And thanks for the challenging questions that make us stop in our tracks and evaluate where we are going.

    I'm going to follow you and hope there will be more of these types of challenges!!

    Patty from

    1. Patty I'm glad you are here! There is so much wisdom to learn from those that are older. I am definitely a challenge and action kind of person so you should see more of that here :) Fun to have you here and heading over to your site now!



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