Ask Paul B: Lunch with “Will I Was”

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Dear Paul B,

Today’s world is so much different than the one that I am familiar with. I am 60, a baby-boomer, and Dad of four who spends way too much time with teens and fifty year old’s who “think they are teens.” I learn very little about life from these two segments, but had the pleasure of having lunch with an eighty-eight year old executive, graduate of Kellogg Business at Northwestern, a Dad and a really good egg.

Ernie carried the discussion, as I was all ears listening about his life, struggles, achievements, personal losses and his general philosophy about life. It amazes me to this day, how we can all learn from those who have walked in our path, and lived lives not that much different than ours. As much as things in the world change, so too do peoples actions, decisions, considerable options, and results remain very much the same. There will always be honor, pride, respect, generosity, warmth, false bravado, mentors, and love of life. I really could have listened to Ernie all day long. This man had lost a daughter to Leukemia, and a wife to a heart attack two days past her fiftieth birthday on a cruise ship. Elaine has rallied back every time, recognizing that “life can throw some curves at you, so be prepared for anything.” She urged me to enjoy the laughs, and the good times, and don’t hold back on showing your love to those who deserve it. In a nutshell, my three takeaways were the following. Make time for the people that need you. Be the best role model for others (keeps you honest.) Give back to others and try to leave the world a better place.

The moral of the story is: Listen and learn from those elders who have sacrificed for us to make our world a better place. If they are kind enough to share with us, open your ears and LEARN. School can be an enlightening endeavor (if you’re listening,) but when you spend time with a learned, experienced elder, you’ll learn things that will truly change your life.. it has changed mine.



Dear L,

You bet your bottom dollar. The best advice, life lessons, philosophies, ethics, and discussions will undoubtedly be spoken by our elders. They have done everything that we WILL DO! They have stepped in it, taken the roads “less traveled” at times, learned from their mistakes and taken those knocks. Listen to them, and ye will learn much. I would go so far to either record conversation (with approval) or take notes. This information is priceless…

Paul B


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1 Comment

  1. So true. Last year i lost my mother- a retired schoolteacher, at 83. Until the day she died she had the right answers, gave perfect advice, and had a sense of humor that is still catching on with the younger generation. Missing her is one thing, but just talking to her almost every day was really amazing! She had style!

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