Discussing life and receiving advice from an older person is always an exciting experience because middle-aged and elderly adults usually have established core values and lifelong experiences. Indeed, these people went through several transition periods that made them more mature and wiser (Webster et al., 2018). According to Webster et al. (2018), wisdom is associated with excellent interpersonal skills and better decision-making capacity. Therefore, I decided to interview my aunt, who worked as a high-school teacher for 20 years, to receive a piece of advice from a person with extensive life experience.
This Skype interview with my aunt was the sincerest conversation I have ever had with an older adult. When I asked my aunt to describe her life in one sentence, she said: “I became a respected teacher with hundreds of students that still remember me but an unhappy person” (C. Miller, personal communication, June 30, 2021). She is a Biology teacher in high school, and many of her students who have already received their Ph.D. degrees often visit my aunt to thank her. Although she is proud of her career, she regrets not having a family. “One thing that changed is my perception of time,” my aunt said when I asked if she views herself differently now compared to her young adulthood (C. Miller, personal communication, June 30, 2021). My aunt said that if there were an opportunity to reverse time, she would spend more time with her parents. Moreover, she wished she could be more attentive to her partner, who committed suicide 17 years ago because he was clinically depressed, but my aunt did not notice his problem.
Overall, as I understood from this conversation with my aunt, she believed that she made wrong priorities in life, thinking that there is enough time to change her path or respond to a phone call. Still, she was happy to dedicate her life to teaching children and seeing how she inspired many students to choose their paths in Biological Sciences. Finally, my aunt gave me the advice to work hard to become a professional in my field, but she suggested that the family should be an equal priority to my career.
Webster, J. D., Weststrate, N. M., Ferrari, M., Munroe, M., & Pierce, T. W. (2018). Wisdom and meaning in emerging adulthood. Emerging Adulthood, 6(2), 118-136. Web.