Somehow, through a few jokes and implausible suggestions, I ended up going alongside seven elderly people on a 10-day cruise to Alaska. And I’m not kidding when I say that I was the youngest person under 70 years old. Though I predicted this trip to be a lot of awkward and a little boring, I came back with so much more than I could have imagined.
Because I spent 10 full days with elderly people, I didn’t talk much, allowing me a lot of time to think! The first thing I observed from this group, consisting of three couples and my recently widowed grandpa, is that they see life in a completely different lens than I.
First off, they talk about death like it’s a cold. Sometimes we would have whole conversations about how nice it was that so-and-so had died, because they weren’t really getting around good anyway. Death, to them, isn’t a tragedy but an expected result after a fulfilled life.
Next, these three couples really taught me a lot about love. All of their advise for me centered around marriage. They were all my age when they got married, and felt they needed to constantly impart wisdom on me. The reality of marriage is a lot more than the wedding, one said. As I was told, young people often prepare for marriage with the wedding, but the next day they ask themselves, “Now what?” By talking with these couples, I learned about the sacrifices involved in living with someone, the selfless attitude you must have and the servant’s heart that is required when making a lasting, loving relationship.
Not only did my appreciation of old people increase, but I desperately want to be old. These people get away with everything: racism, breaking things, stealing things, bad and offensive jokes, loud gossip and so much more! I can’t wait to get to the point in my life where I can wear elastic pants just because I can.
If I learned one thing on my cruise, it’s that old people are not only knowledgeable but hysterical.