Commentary by Lorene Burkhart
There are actually a few advantages to aging! One of them is being able to reflect on life and to finally see how the dots connect. Sometimes we’re left with a few “if onlys,” but I don’t spend time dwelling on them, because they are in the past. If we’re older than 70 we probably focus more on the present than the future, since there is less of it.
As I reflect on my past, I’m reminded of growing up on a working farm, meaning that everyone worked. Even the youngsters had chores to do, which gave us the opportunity to learn responsibility and accountability. There was no allowance given or withdrawn for chores done or not done. We knew we were an important member of the team. How is this taught today? Maybe that’s why sports are so popular for kids.
When I entered the job market as a teacher, I remembered that I had always been trained to do my best. Through the years this attitude paid big dividends. Being unprepared for a job simply meant that I would need to work harder. Doors opened because of my reputation as a person who shared success with fellow workers.
One of my biggest challenges was being the only woman executive in a company, but what an opportunity to be a role model. This was during the time before many women had moved into the executive office. It’s exciting to see how that has changed. Now women fill approximately one-fourth of leadership positions.
Leaning on others for solutions and advice is probably the most important lesson that I have learned in my 88 years. Asking for advice connects you to others in a unique way and provides them the opportunity to build self confidence.
Aging is inevitable, but as Soren Kirkegaard one said, “Life can only be understood backwards, but it must be lived forwards.” Take some time to reflect on your own life. It will provide some clarification.