I really like this idea of “I will live younger, but think older.” Some of the people I have looked up to most in my life are from my grandmother’s generation and many were her friends. This is worth sharing:
“Today I was honored to speak to the graduating class of BYU–Hawaii. The message I shared with them is one that I think could be valuable for many of us. I begin with an event surrounding my own graduation from Brigham Young University Provo in 1975. My happiness was beyond expression—not because of my graduation but because a year earlier I had met Miss Kathy Williams and just three weeks before my graduation, she married me. I was one very fortunate man! Following our day of graduation, we loaded our car for the long trip across the United States to Kathy’s home in Florida, where we would work before beginning graduate school in the northeastern United States in the fall. But before traveling east, we determined to spend one last night with my grandmother who lived 150 miles north of Provo, in the little town of Preston, Idaho. She was 78 years old and frail, and I was unsure if I would see her again. Of course, the woman who would influence my life and bring me greater happiness than anyone else was my new bride, Kathy, but I wanted her to share the memory of my grandmother who, for me, was a remarkable person.
Her life had not been easy. When she was six years old her cherished mother died suddenly. During my grandmother’s 80 years, she would have few worldly possessions, and she lived most of her life in the same home. She was trained as a teacher, but most of her teaching would be of her six children, whom she would instill with a love for the gospel of Jesus Christ. All three of her sons and one of her daughters served missions at a time when missions were less expected. Her husband died unexpectedly when she was still in her 50s.
My grandmother lived a simple life, introducing me to raspberries and flowers from the garden, deep-dish apple pie, remarkable stories of her ancestors, and her own homegrown poetry. I remember her as always happy, and I never remember her complaining. She wrote to me regularly on my mission, once including these words: “Do keep always your wonderful testimony. Nothing in this world will bring you greater joy and help you over discouragement and trouble that may sometimes come into your life.”
As Kathy and I turned our car east 41 years ago to begin our lives together, I thought of all that was ahead of us but already behind for my grandmother. I was deeply in love with Kathy. I looked forward to having a family together, to our schooling, and to work. I was excited about the dreams we shared. Yet, I thought, “While living our younger lives, could I somehow hold on to the perspective of my grandmother?” A thought entered into my mind: “I will live younger, but think older.” This is the counsel I gave graduates today: learn to embrace the perspective of those who are older. Live younger; think older.
While you are younger, think of those who are older whom you respect and admire. They may be your parents and grandparents or your Church leaders. Now that they are older, how has their thinking evolved? If you are able to embrace their older thinking while you are younger, it will bring you great happiness and satisfaction.
Recently I inquired of many people what counsel they would give their younger selves. I summarized their thinking into three categories: Trust in our Heavenly Father and in the Savior. Gratitude beyond the obvious. Love in first place.
For example, Sister Mi Duk Lee from Korea explained how even her difficult childhood could be accepted with gratitude. She said: “My father died in an accident and my mother was seriously injured when I was sophomore in high school. I thought nothing good would ever happen in my life. Forty years later, as I look back on my life, there were countless amazing and joyful events that I could not have imagined back then. If we don’t stray from the gospel, all the hardship that we face will make our lives more meaningful.”
You can read more of the stories from these faithful respondents here:
My promise to you is this: your ability to raise a righteous family, to strengthen the kingdom of God, and to contribute to the world will not be measured by wealth, fame, or convenience. As you follow the Lord’s inspiration to do His will, He will bless your life.” Elder Neil L. Andersen