Our knowledge vault – is anyone interested? 90



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As I grow older, I realise that the more knowledge I accumulate, the more it will only be important to just me. I can get all of these things I know and stockpile them in my mind but I fear that they aren’t going to have an opportunity to be told – for them to mean something.

When our children thought of Grandma or Granddad, they’d think their stories were boring rather than interesting – they’d almost assume they’d start with ‘back in my day’. When my kids would say this to me, I’d just laugh and think, I’ll never be that person, the one trying to impart their wisdom on anyone who’ll listen. But now I understand.

We over 60s just want to be heard. We just want all those facts and details to mean something someday. We feel we’re running out of time to tell those stories. I see so many over 60s writing their memoirs or self-help books, and 5 years ago, I would have seen it as a bit desperate. But now, as I approach 65, I realise just why someone would want to make a book or write a blog about their life. We’re scared that one day we’ll be sucked into the white light and all the things we’ve accumulated will go with us.

My grandchildren now sit and chat with me every so often, and I have to bite my tongue before I say ‘back in my day’. I want to tell them so many things about the world but then I remember how fun it is to learn on your own. I guess I just wish I didn’t have to do the cliched self-published book just so I could find an audience for what I want to say. I was a psychologist for 28 years and I have heard it all. I’ve always wanted to write a book about the resilience of the human spirit but as a highly self-aware person, I have the good foresight to know that no one will buy my book. I know that no matter how many people in my circle, or indeed on here, tell me that I should just go for it and write that book, it’ll never sell a million copies. That might sound like pessimism but I’m a realist. And the amount of people I have seen who have ended I spending thousands of dollars printing their darn books or having them edited could fill a whole book in itself.

So I wonder, dear Starts at 60 readers, what legacy we will have. How will our thoughts and knowledge live on after we’ve gone? Or am I just hanging on for no reason?

Tell us your thoughts below.

Guest Contributor

  1. Sometimes people try to impart wisdom and knowledge in a factual way when often it is received better by weaving it into a fictional story. The writer of this article could do just that and might end up with a best seller.

  2. Maybe you could do short stories in verse. I discovered my “talent” at 50 and have over 50 poems that tell the stories of my children, parents, and grandchildren, with a few friends for good measure. My family and friends have always enjoyed them. There is no reason why it wouldn’t work as a series of life lessons.

  3. We pass on knowledge by telling our grandchildren
    what life was like when we were young. I guess it is the way we talk about things that makes the difference. A little humour goes down well too. My grandchildren were amazed to know that I was once a little girl who experienced many of the things they do.

  4. Lissening to my Mother’s, grandmother’s Mother in law’s in fact all older females in the family story’s was a gentle lesson in life a sujestion on how to and how not to react to life’s bumpy ride. I took all there storys/lessons in bord, I rember them all to this day. With out them and the ‘Woman’s Weekly” how do young woman of Australia lern to be a competent member of our community. I find this next generation of young woman are unwilling to lissen , why? has “Google become there mentor. I feel for there long term anxiety if thay do not develop a human reference for advice for life is a bumpy trip.

  5. writer might be surprised how many people she can touch with her wisdom via a blog…there are lots of people thirsting for direction in their lives

  6. I have regrets over so many questions I wish I’d asked my grandmother and even my own parents. So I know what you mean. There is so much one wishes to pass on. I gave Mum a journal every year and begged her to write her memories down. Unfortunately she did not do so,as she said no one would be interested! I wish to do that now, and It may lie around until someone one day may find the time or interest in it. I also get discouraged when we,as grandparents try to reminisce and get cut off mid sentence and I’m sure we did the same,so,I have to remind myself,we all walk our own walk and much as we would love to embrace others for the journey, they have to(and want to) do it themselves.But for my own gratification and as an act of love for this awesome life I have been privileged to live, I do hope I get round to writing some of my memories down. I hope you can do the same.

    4 REPLY
    • Yes I find that too… Yesterday doesn’t seem to matter but to those who lived it.. Most younger generations live in the NOW…

    • I plan to voice record what I can remember going back to the stories my great-grandparents told me about Australia when they migrated here in 1911 and onwards through memories of my grandparents and parents so that I can leave that information for my Children and grand-children. I suddenly realised recently that I am the only living person who has this stored information.

  7. Yes, and I decided to keep learning because I enjoy it. Due to go back to Law studies at 70.

    2 REPLY
    • I’m 68 and doing Arts, Phil. A couple of months ago a x Philosophy student wrote in the SMH that reading Philosophy split her head open, that is what it has done for me.

    • As long as you are enjoying the “pain” of the effort – it is worth it. To satisfy an internal need is problematic but mostly fun. It would be interesting to read your final dissertation. Have you any idea of the topics you are working towards exploring?

  8. I can identify – it is so frustrating to know you have learned all of these valuable lessons and no-one wants to hear.

  9. Of course. We become invisible or quieten if we have an opinion also we are seen as past by used date ! Not to be taken seriously !

    2 REPLY
    • Not all so heart breaking when youve done your best for them, somevof them feel they have a right to tell yiu howvto live your life, it sffects relationships and the poor grandys are forced to side with parents although you have looked after them from birth and had them stay numerous times. Its like grief the golden links get battered. I dont give in thats my problem as I am a person and have much to give and refuse to accept their baggage lol xox

  10. In my sons’ primary school one of the teachers told the students to find the oldest person in their family and ask the simple questions. How did you get to school? What did you eat? Did you grow it? What games did you play? Etc. unfortunately my sons were over 1000km from their grandparents but I hope at least some of the stories were told. I wish I’d listened and learnt more from my own grandparents.

    2 REPLY
    • Would have liked to have met my natural, maternal grandmother, to see what she was really like. She refused to let my birth mother (her daughter, Beryl) bring me into the family, as Beryl was unmarried and it would be shameful! Also, that grandmother had been widowed a few short years earlier. However, about 30 years later, just a while before she died, she told Beryl that she should have let her bring her little girl home, as she didn’t realise how much it would affect her! (All this was said after NEVER mentioning me in about 30 years!). Beryl’s life and emotional state have been affected. She married and had sons. I met her, she visited several times, but it all eventually ended. Sad – her choice. Her husband refused to have us there. All to hard for her. Also, I was dismayed that she would NOT give me ANY details about my natural father, apart from authorising the Catholic Welfare Dept. to release his name, age, war occupation and religion.
      She said he died (think in his 50’s or 60’s – not sure).
      No-one can trace him. He was Thomas PINCOTT, 23 years old in 1946 (when I was born), Airforce and C of E. The Defence Dept. (years and years ago) couldn’t place him. Maybe ‘Thomas’ was his middle name?

      Life’s funny – my natural father was, apparently, Thomas; my adoptive father, Dad, was Thomas Reginald, but was called Reg.; my natural mother, Beryl, married a different Thomas (not my father) – AND my youngest child is THOMAS! I happen to love that name! My son, Thomas, was nine when Beryl came into our lives for a few short years, so I had no knowledge – at that stage – of her two Toms!

      I am so grateful and lucky to have been adopted into a family with three of their own – a lot older, but I keep in touch with nephews and nieces – great folk!

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