Each week, Joe posts a new task in his quest for redemption and enlightenment.
TASK #29: July 15th–July 22nd
“Retirement at sixty five is ridiculous.When I was sixty five I still had pimples.”-George Burns
If you’re like me, you ignore old men. Because they’re old. Like your dad. He’s old. And if you’re already old (I define old as: you know it when you see it; or, old people don’t know about hip hop. And they don’t know how to download a file and they don’t understand Youtube). What do we need old men for? What do they know that I can’t figure out for myself? Well I set out to find out if old men knew anything that is relevant to anyone under 30. Or 50 for that matter.
Guess what? I found out that just because a guy’s brain is in a skull fringed by white hair, it doesn’t mean he’s stupid. Quite the opposite. I found that old men, if for no other reason that they made every bonehead mistake possible, from idiotic financial mistakes to work miscues to romantic gaffes, and lived through it, are smarter than the rest of us. This is knowledge that we should tap int! This is knowledge from the Gods! Knowledge that can help us become successful! BUT…and this is a big one… you have to dig a little to get it.
This week you have to hang out with an older man. Not older like one year, or a guy who was a senior when you were a freshman, but a real senior–someone over 65 years old. It can be a random guy–I mean, you can go to the nearest retirement village, or down to the park where the old guys play backgammon–but if you can, do some research and try to find a man from whom you might learn something. Like a guy who did your job but has retired. Or a successful businessman that your dad knows, or the crossing guard who wears a Vietnam Veterans hat. And you can’t use your own father, or step-father, or anyone related to you.
When you’ve reached out to the guy, make an effort to spend some real time with them. Do what THEY want to do. That’s important. Don’t foist your lifestyle on them. Dive into theirs. Maybe it’s the early bird dinner at Dennys, or a round of golf, or canasta with the boys, or going fishing, or off to the library, or just a sit down in the city park where
they feed the pigeons. PREPARE for the meeting. Write up some questions. Let them talk and LISTEN to them.
Then go back home and write down what your learned, if anything.
Photo Credit: PREM KUMAR MARNI/flickr