Elders’ wise words about life ring true

Sarah Baldwin

I got thinking the other day – my undergrad years passed by so quickly, yet at the time, it often seemed like one long day after another only broken up by short weekends. When I talked with older working adults, I’d get very little sympathy for my college life woes. However, they did give me a few observations on what my life ahead would probably be like – words that, despite my skepticism at the time, have served me well in my endeavors since then. I’m spreading their wise words to you.

1) If you’re going to earn a good income, you will work long hours. The 40-hour work week is a good start. Although if you’re going to have a successful career, it’s more likely your challenge will be to keep your work hours less than 55 hours a week to balance out family, friends and relaxation.

2) Your learning would/should never stop, both for your career as well as for your own well-being. Look for a career in a field that you enjoy; however, at the same time, it’s important to remember that you’ve got to keep food on the table and pay your rent.

3) Don’t look for romance in your business associates. If the relationship crashes, you’ll be seeing too much of your old flame. I’ve seen this one blow up more than once, and trust me, it’s some bad “ju-ju.”

4) When you start a new position, look for opportunities to exceed your employer’s expectations. You’ll be given great opportunities that will be “cloaked” as work assignments and will not appear to be steps toward success. It’s important to recognize these tasks.

5) As you achieve success in your life and career, don’t measure your success by how much money you earn or your title. Mark your success by the people you help along the way and how you impact others in your life. It will be “lonely at the top” if you don’t bring quality friends along with you.

6) A good friend summed up the truly important issues in his life with the following: FAITH, FAMILY & FRIENDS (my beloved father adds fishing to the equation).

7) Don’t take yourself too seriously. Take good care of your health (both spiritually and physically) and take time to keep in touch with your good friends. You truly only have a few good friends who accept you as you are, and it’s those friends who will love you during the ups and downs of life (and believe me, the ups and downs will come if you live long enough).

8) Give back to those who have helped you achieve success in your life. No one is an “island” and no one who is honest with him or herself will tell you that he or she is “self-made.” Truly successful people in life recognize the support they were given and take the time to acknowledge the help they have received.

The happiest times in my life occurred when I was helping others by participating in activities that focused on the “team.” I have no doubt that my graduate years will also fly by as did my undergrad years, and I give thanks for those who have helped me along the way.

Sarah Baldwin is a public relations graduate student and columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected].