things i learned from an 82-year-old

(2-3 min read)

I recently met this 82-year-old woman. She was an educator for a number of years and is now retired and loves to volunteer. I won’t name her but let’s just call her Kate. Here are some things I learned from her.


Unsurprisingly, for a woman her age, she has a number of chronic health problems. She claims that one of her chronic conditions is curiosity. She questions everything. She wants to know everything. She is curious about the world and why things are the way they are. Being curious not only helps you understand things, but it helps you find solutions to problems and helps you think creatively. She goes to the library often and finds things that interests her and takes piles of books home. She’s 82 years old and still constantly learning. When Kate was 14, she always wanted to run away from home. Why? Because she was curious and wanted to learn more about the world.

Lesson learned: Be curious and have a genuine interest in things. Read books. Go explore. You’ll be better off and more knowledgeable and experienced because of it.


When she was 18, she did run away from home. She used all her savings to move to Canada. I asked her what her biggest challenge was. She said it was being an immigrant. When she arrived in Canada being only 18 years old and barely having any money, life wasn’t easy. This reminded me of my Punjabi parents who arrived to Canada with barely $20 to their names and worked hard for the things that our family has now. I’m sure you can relate too. Nothing beats hard work, trusttt 💯💯

Lesson learned: Be appreciative of the things you have. And most importantly, be appreciative of the people who worked painfully long hours (and sometimes double/triple jobs) so you could have everything you have. Life might be hard for you, but life was hard for the people that came before you too, maybe even harder. Also, it doesn’t matter where you come from or what your life used to be like, just give it your all and you will be come a success-story.

stand up for what you believe in

When she was doing her undergrad about 50-something years ago in the early 60s, Kate was very involved in activism and creating social change. She was known for creating uproars on her University campus (the same school I go to). She said that the school has records of her and she can be found in the archives. I think this is important because just think about all the issues going on around the world today. We need people who are going to be able to stand up and speak up and be able to inspire others or be able to create a change.

Lesson learned: Don’t be afraid to voice your opinions and stand up for what you believe in. Get a group of people who believe in the same thing and create a movement. Fight for the issues you want to correct. Leave your mark on the world, so that one day, 50-60 years later, they still have records of you. One person can do a lot.

Prabh DhillonComment