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      When was the last time you had an extended conversation with an older person that wasn't related to you?  Maybe it's because I take two buses to to and from work, or the fact that I frequent church 1-2 times a week, and find myself around a lot of older people, but I often find myself having  long convos with people who are two or three times my age. It used to be really difficult for me to talk to older folks, but nowadays it just comes naturally to me. Sometimes I even feel like they gravitate towards me, I dunno, maybe I'm an old-timer whisperer. 

     One day last year , after a tiring shopping session at a Goodwill in New York city, I sat  down by the dressing rooms to rest my legs and look over my finds. I don't remember if she was sitting there first or if she had joined me, or if it was me or her who initiated the convo, but somehow, the elderly woman next to me and I started talking about the shoes she was thinking of buying. Once the conversation got rolling,I found out she was a journalist for decades before she retired, aaaand her first interview was with former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger!  For some reason she wouldn't tell me her name, which made her all the more intriguing, but even though I couldn't squeak even her initials out of her,I left with that one-of-a-kind feeling you get after having a great conversation with someone. The fact that the conversation happened with someone, who upon first glance, I wouldn't think had anything in common with me, or that I could even hold a smooth conversation with, made it so much more special.  It's easy to look at an elderly person and assume they are uninteresting and have nothing significant to say, but that's rarely true! People who are in their wiser years have lived life! Gone on adventures! Lived in a time so different from what we're used to today.Yes, it's rather intimidating to strike up a conversation with someone who isn't your agemate, but  there are a lot of senior citizens who would be overjoyed to  shoot the breeze with a younger person, so reach out! There's a good chance you both could benefit from the interaction.

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Comment by Sonia Rangel on July 3, 2012 at 12:06pm

Wow! That's awesome, even though I was not a fan of Kissinger, that's still a big deal! Being a history buff that I am (with a side of journalism) I would have bombarded her with questions.

I think it is difficult for me to talk to older people. When I was traveling though, I met an older lady who had children my age. We hiked up together to see Arcopolis and I got to learn so much from a different perspective. We talked about her children, her mom who is sick in China and her move to the U.S. from China when she was in her early 20s. The first movie she watched in English was Julia Robert's Pretty Woman. 

Everyone has such an interesting story to tell, it's truly fascinating! 


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