Don’t Waste Time Complaining

By Georgie Bright Kunkel

Don’t you hate people who are always giving advice? Advice is offered by people who are thinking of what they themselves need in their own lives. They may not have known about the Native American advice that one needs to walk a mile in another’s moccasins before giving them what they consider their own words of wisdom. Such words of wisdom come from personal experience. Take it from me. I have lived long enough to have a treasure trove of experiences to draw from. And as you may already know, I have always walked the road less traveled even before I even knew who Robert Frost was.

Notice that it is usually men who can afford the luxury of traveling this road.

While women are saddled with monthly cycles and pregnancy and babies, men are free to contemplate their navels on a mountain top. Then after meditating and envisioning a better world they created religions to pass on what they had learned while sitting cross legged on that mountain top.

In the old days women were often given more credit for having achieved wisdom. The wise women of the tribe would be sought out for help in living the good life. It was only when the industrial society prevented women from working alongside men that they lost their special role of adviser to the extended family. I would not want to return to earlier times before labor saving devices improved the lives of woman as well as men. But there was an advantage for younger members of families when the wisdom of the elders was listened to and passed down to younger generations.

Recent research has brought out that people who complain a lot don’t live as long.
They say that people who can still run as they get old, however, live longer. When one lives a long life there may be more years to face the care center at the end of life. And people living without the extended family close by end up living in nursing homes and often isolated from the rest of the community. Let me ask you—how many of you have visited family or friends in a care center recently? Many of us are uncomfortable with being there and don’t know what to say. A mentor of my son recently was on his death bed. A woman came to visit but instead of telling this old dying friend how he had been appreciated she asked, “When are you going to get to go home?” The dying man responded, “I am never going home. I am dying.” He was an active participant in life until the end. In face, he made a recording of his last message to his friends to be played at his funeral.

Everyone knows how active I stay in my life. I joke about not getting any sympathy because I don’t suffer from any life threatening illnesses. And they say when I brag about all the things I am involved in, “My, it is nice you stay active.” Your darned right I stay active. Life isn’t over until it is over. There is no need to retire from life. Younger people need the involvement with older people so they know how to live life successfully and with joy as the years pass.

Recently I sat in the Rosie the Riveter booth at a career fair at Seattle Center. All the young women in trades and those learning the trades stopped by to tell me how they admired the Rosie the Riveters who led the way into industry for them. Mentoring has not gone out of style. So let’s remain connected with each other. Just because I can’t run a fast mile doesn’t mean that my experiences and wisdom is gone. And I am willing to share what I have learned. I guess that I will always be a school teacher at heart.

Georgie Bright Kunkel is a freelance writer who can be reached at 206-935-8663

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