Lately there has been a trend on the internet of creating “Advice for 20-Somethings” lists or letters addressed to the author’s “younger self.” Though they are, arguably, in excess, I do love these posts and can’t help imagining what someone beyond 30, 40 or 50 could tell our younger generation. Perhaps this is inspired by the books I’ve read lately that feature elderly protagonists, both real and fictitious, that are hilarious, humbling and inspiring. The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson and Martin Sixsmith‘s biographical memoir Philomena remind all readers (young and old) that it’s never too late to start over, fix your mistakes or, in the case of The Little Old Lady Who Broke All the Rules by Catharina Ingelman-Sundberg… turn to a life of crime?
I think if Allan (“The 100-Year-Old Man”), Philomena or Martha (“The Little Old Lady”) were to contribute to an “Advice for 20-Somethings” list, this is some of the wisdom they would share.
1. Don’t Sweat It! “Things are what they are, and whatever will be, will be.”
Actually a quote attributed to his mother, this was Allan’s mantra throughout his lifetime of adventures.
2. Avoid Grumpiness
“People could behave how they liked, but Allan considered that in general it was quite unnecessary to be grumpy if you had the chance not to.”
3. Never Try to Outdrink a Swede …“unless you happen to be a Finn or at least a Russian.”
Please let us know how or why you would need this advice. We’re intrigued.
4. Practice Forgiveness. “I forgive you because I don’t want to remain angry.”
This one of many inspiring words from Philomena that did not include swear words; and though she is hilarious, Martin Sixsmith’s story is actually incredibly heartbreaking and redemptive.
5. Sleep In! “Mornings are an unchristian time of day for birds, villains and uncouth youths who hadn’t yet been to bed.”
If you say so, Martha… will my boss accept this excuse?
Martha would also insist on sharing some practical advice for our older readers, which is: never be slowed down by your walker. A Zimmer frame may become handy in all (or some) of the following activities: escaping your retirement home, hiding wire cutters (which can be used for stealing paintings), and, if necessary, escaping prison. The Little Old Lady Who Broke All the Rules is this week’s 50 Book Pledge Featured Read! Add it to your To Be Read shelf here.
May we all age ungracefully,