Perhaps it is time to reflect on what is really important. The current global financial meltdown is sending ripples of fear and anxiety throughout the world. It is hard to avoid all of the bad news. It is everywhere, on the evening news, in the papers, on the radio, around the water-coolers and on our minds. The added stress can negatively affect our health, our emotional well-being and our relationships. It is easy to loose focus of what is really important in our lives.
My wife and I recently spent a weekend with our elderly, fun-loving aunts at their retirement center in Victoria. It was our first visit to their new home. We knew we had arrived at the right location when we pulled into the underground parking lot. There were seventeen parking stalls with three cars and fourteen electric scooters all lined up and plugged in to the wall. I kept thinking this would be a great "Seinfeld” scene.
I was worried that it could be a boring weekend, but I had no idea how enlightening it was going to be. We moved our bags into the guest suite and then joined our aunts and their friends in the dining room. I made a comment about the "senior’s discount”, which apparently had been used about a thousand times before. I was prepared for a "fully mashed” dinner, however I discovered that chewing your food slowly helps you enjoy the meal more. There is no such thing as "fast food” in a senior’s center.
The dinner conversation was entertaining and inspirational. We were fortunate to have about six hundred years of collective experience and stories at our table of eight. There was no talk about falling stocks, bank bailouts or politics. Instead, we were treated to stories about love, family and relationships. One adoring couple had just celebrated their 65th wedding anniversary and the love they shared was infectious. I felt compelled to ask them what the secret was to their relationship success. What they shared seemed so simple. The sweet elderly woman whispered, "mutual respect for each other, caring, kindness and lots of love and laughter made the sixty-five years fly by”. Her husband nodded in agreement and then offered, "The last ten years were the easiest, because my hearing is not like it used to be.”
One innocent woman proudly said, "I have been through three marriages.” We were a bit taken back, but then she confessed that she had out lived her husbands and she was now on the prowl for number four! One older gentleman with wise-looking eyes spoke up, "the problem with young people today, is that you are all too damn busy trying to buy two of everything and you are spending the best part of your lives in front of the boob tube and the interrupt”. I had to ask what the "interrupt” was and he shot back, "when I visit my grand kids they spend most of the time on the internet and I have to ’interrupt’ them to get their attention.”
This weekend helped me to reflect on what is really important. The true value in our lives can be measured by the amount of love that we have around us and when we fill up our relationship account with love, we will enjoy many happy returns!
Bobby O’Neal is the creator of Syncrohearts: "The game you love to play and play to love”.