Getting Wiser

One of the best perks of being an ophthalmologist is being able to talk to people of different ages. I get to sit down and have daily connections with children, adolescents, adults, and seniors.

I did not expect that this was going to have such an impact on how I enjoy my day and experience the world. However, it has stood out as a key factor in what gives richness and fulfillment to my life.

Most people have some variety in the ages of the people they interact with, especially parents and people who interact with children and parents. But most often seniors are not a part of those interactions.

There are many cultures and societies that do weave interactions with the senior members into the daily activities of the child rearing adults. The prominence of the nuclear family has eaten away at this way of living. When seniors are seen as the leaders of the extended family, they are revered as elders rather than just seniors. So this brings me back to what I enjoy about seeing different ages.

On a daily basis, I meet and interact with elders of the community, elders of the family, and elders of the world. Every patient I see that has lived and experienced the world helps me see the world in a little different way. The experiences of our elders are the key to understanding the world we live in today and can guide us in how we can see the world in the future.

I see my relationship with my elder patients as an exchange. I give them information about their eyes and they give me pieces of wisdom from their life. I don’t always agree or have time to listen completely but I always respect their perspective. If we can bring the perspective of the elders into our lives more, they can enrich our lives with their stories and thoughts about the past and present.

The medical field has a lot of telling our elders what to do. It should be a mutual exchange. And people who have elders in their lives can benefit from this exchange as well.

If we can bring the elders into the fabric of our lives and have a mutual exchange, our societies and communities will be richer. The perspective of the elders in our lives brings the experience and insight that comes only from years of living and surviving.

I have it easy because talking to elders is structured into my daily life. You may have to be more deliberate in your actions to get a dose of elder interaction. It is well worth it. It will help you be more empathetic, compassionate, tolerant, and understanding of the world as a whole. If we all do this, then the community and society can more fully integrate all ages so that we learn more from each other in every stage of life.