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Listening is a gift for two and nine more things I have learned.

Getting old is actually fun sometimes, because you "get" things that you may not have quite grasped earlier in your life. I posted 10 things that I have learned a few days ago, and now I have 10 more.


1. Listen more than you speak. The biggest gift that most people ask of your is your time, and especially your time to listen. When you listen, you are affirming the value and dignity of the person speaking and, moist importantly, you are opening up to learn something. The less I speak, the more I learn and the more I know the less I say/ Listen, it is a gift to both the other person and to yourself.


2. Let nature be your teacher. Observe the changing seasons, the growth of plants, the behaviors of animals (including the two-legged kind), and celebrate the fact that you are a part of a diverse and wonderful natural world. Consider that a bee lives 40 days, sucks the nectar from about 100 flowers in a short life, and gives us one teaspoon of honey. In a cave full of millions of bats, a mother bat can fly 60 miles eating insects, but upon return to the cave, she can identify her own baby by smell. That is a wonder and a miracle. The natural cycles of growth, death and decay are out own cycles. We are part of nature, not separate from it, and nature is part of us.


3. Silence too, is an answer. You may think that you need to respond to everything said to you or about you. Why? Silence is often the best answer. And consider whether a response will solve anything, make a situation worse, or have no effect. More often than not, silence is the default setting.


4. Never regret taking time to make a child laugh or learn. That may, in the long run, be a greater legacy than your 40 years in an office or factory. It is an investment, a pleasure, and a memory for both of you, and may very well endure longer than you do.


5. Money could either be an end in itself or the means to other ends. Choose well. Your worth is not what you have, but who you are. Who you are is about what you do with what you have, even if you have very little.


6. If you think that you can stand taller by stepping on someone else, you can also fall farther. That isn't my original thought, but I have heard it many times and seen it even more times.


7. Cherish long-term friends, and don’t mourn the end of passing friendships that are “for a season or for a reason.” In such cases, two solitudes bumped into each other and walked together for a while, then took different roads. True lifelong friends can join you at any part of the journey and walk with you as they did before.


8. Social status is ephemeral. The socially prominent may have fancier graves than everyone else, but are just as dead, and really don’t get to enjoy the nice architecture.


9. Before disrespecting any person because of his or her job, stop and think how that job benefits you or someone else. Some of the least glamorous jobs are absolutely vital to civilized society. A waiter or waitress, janitor, sewer worker, cleaning lady, farmer, trucker, and a thousand other jobs are vastly more important to society than a social media influencer. And they are often nicer people.


10. If you are suffering from the viruses of racism, xenophobia, or other bigotry, just get sick. In the hospital and rehab for my back, I had caring and kind people looking after me who were black, white, Appalachian, Mexican, South American, Sub-Saharan African, East Asian, South Asian, a dozen flavors of Christian, probably an atheist or two, several kinds of Muslim, Jewish, gay, straight, and even a Zoroastrian, I suspect that some were Democrats, some Republicans, and some Independents. Whatever you may think about the politics of diversity and inclusion—you will find it in the healthcare industry at every level. And you will be thankful for the care and kindness given by each person. Ponder that before you hate. Kindness is just human, and not peculiar to any given type of human.

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