The Legacy Project began in 2004, when Karl Pillemer, a professor of human development at Cornell University, began collecting advice for living from American’s seniors. He gathered 1500 responses to the question: “What are the most important lessons you have learned over the course of your life?”
People from all over the nation in their 70′s and above shared their advice and wisdom for living a live with no regrets. A summary of his findings can be found in his recent book, 30 Lessons for Living-from the Wisest Americans.
Here is a summary of some of their thoughts.
How To Be Happy: The consensus of the elders is that we can’t wait for external events to bring about happiness. They suggest we can make a choice not to brood negatively about life. Don’t think on any past shortcomings or failures. Learn what you can from them, resolve to do better, and live on. Almost all elders viewed happiness as a choice, not the result of how live treats you.
On Aging: “Embrace it. Don’t fight it. Growing older is both an attitude and a process”, an 80 year old man said. The experts advice to the young: “Don’t waste your time worrying about getting old.”
Maintain social contacts. Avoid becoming isolated. When an invitation is issued, say yes. Take steps to stay engaged, and take advantage of opportunities to learn new things. Although many were initially reluctant, those who moved to a senior living community found more freedom to enjoy activities and relationships then they had before.
On Regrets: Travel more when your younger rather than wait until the children are grown or you are retired. Travel is so rewarding that is should take precedence over other things younger people spend money on. Create a bucket list now and start whittling it down.
Vist the web site for more advice and Meet The Elders videos. www.legacyproject.human.cornell.edu