Wisdom Interns Everywhere

A Wisdom Intern Can Help with Purpose…

…direction and saving us a few bumps and bruises along the way.

Did you see the movie The Intern with Robert De Niro and Ann Hathaway?

70-year-old widower Ben Whittaker has discovered that retirement isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Seizing an opportunity to get back in the game, he becomes a senior intern at an online fashion site, founded and run by Jules Ostin.

This light-hearted comedy points to something often overlooked in our world today – we are surrounded by seniors loaded with life-wisdom.

In a recent article in Aeon magazine, author Paul Pillemer explores the wealth of wisdom our elders have to offer in Ask the aged.  Who better to answer questions about the purpose of life than someone who has been living theirs for a long time?

Here is a real eye-opener from the article that probably applies to many of us in some fashion:

Ten years ago, I reached a point in my career that felt either like a dead-end or a turning point – I wasn’t sure which. By then, I had spent 25 years as a gerontologist, professionally occupied with everything to do with ageing. I conducted research using longitudinal data sets and sophisticated statistical analyses. I developed and evaluated programmes to improve older people’s lives. I taught courses and gave lectures on ageing. I opined on policy issues affecting our ageing society. So what was the revelation?

I never talked to old people.

My research kept me at more than an arm’s length from the living, breathing individuals who were its subject. At best, hired interviewers spoke with my respondents. Elsewhere, I used even more distant secondary data sets. My ‘engagement’ with real people involved checking codes and running statistics. The living, breathing humans who reported buoyant life satisfaction or high levels of caregiver stress were equally distant from me. And so I suddenly felt an urge to go out into the world of people in the eighth decade of life and beyond, and listen to what they had to say. What I heard changed my whole approach to life. Perhaps it will do the same for you.

 In talking to young people, Paul discovered that purpose concerned them more than most things we might expect. The young it seems have a longing to find purpose in their life so Paul took this question of purpose to the elders to see what insight and wisdom they might offer.

Read the article, it is a wealth of wisdom from the aged.

Perhaps we could all benefit from a senior intern, regardless of our age.