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This is a question Advice from Old People

Sometimes, just sometimes, old people say something worth listening to. Ok, so it's like picking the needle out of a whole haystack of mis-remembered war stories, but those gems should be celebrated.

Tell us something worthwhile an old-type person has told you.

Note, we're leaving the definition of old up to you, you smooth-skinned youngsters.

(, Thu 19 Jun 2008, 16:16)
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My grandad, who died in February,
never really had much time for me till not too long before he died. Having been a bad-tempered type not dissimilar to the love child of Alf Garnett, Father Jack and Victor Meldrew with a strong dislike of women and anyone smart enough to answer him back (except for my dad, one of the few people he actually respected), I wasn't one of his favourite people and for most of my life our interactions consisted of him telling me off for being a boisterous, bouncy child, in between trying to speak to me in broken French.

The last time I saw him was just after Christmas last year, the last time I went home. Having spent the last couple of years battling prostate cancer, heart trouble and losing his memory frequently, grandad was unusually lucid, but because granny had recently had a heart op, he was temporarily in a nursing home, which by all accounts he was really enjoying (and had won various random items of clothing and sweets on the in-house bingo).

On the last day I saw him, he was surprisingly lucid, considering the last time I'd seen him he'd said "now, I don't know much about Maladicta, which one are you and what do you do?", he talked to me and my dad about life and whether I was a pain at home and my dad said "no, no, she's no bother."

Grandad then launches into a long and passionate speech: "I know when they get to a certain age you still want to protect them and make sure they don't come to any harm, but you have to let them go sometime, so if she wants to go out to the pictures till all hours and come home late at night, or whatever she wants to do with her life, no matter what it is, you have to let her make her own way in the world."

Then he turned his attention to me: "So you're the languages one, you're finishing up with college soon, very well done, we're all so proud of you. What do you want to do with it all?"

I usually hate being asked this question, because I genuinely don't know, even now I have the degree, I'm just looking for any old job. So I told the truth "Anything but teaching, I can't stand kids." "As well you might not, teaching is for idiots. You do whatever you want love."

That's the only time in my life I ever felt that we connected on any level, or that he understood me. It's just a shame it was cut so short and I often wonder what he and I would have talked about had he lived any longer.
(, Thu 19 Jun 2008, 16:36, closed)

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