Age has no barrier to connection
Updated: Aug 26
When we open our minds we can truly be inspired.
One thing I love the most is the enrichment of a group of people in a environment together that think instantly ‘What will we talk about', 'What on earth will I have in common with that person’, 'They are so much older/younger than me', 'There experience and lifestyle is so different to mine'.
The thing is we can all find some mutual ground if we open our mind up too it. There is a lesson with ever encounter we have with someone, no matter what age, religion, belief or background they are. We have all been shaped differently and have a unique view of the world.
I was a twenty six year old woman travelling to Prague in the Czech Republic, a good twenty five years ago with a great friend at the time. It was a midnight flight. As we walked through the airport we were having a lovely conversation with a mature woman, Mary told us it was her eightieth birthday and that she was sick of her family fighting, telling her what to do and making plans for her. So she fled the United Kingdom and didn’t tell them where she was heading. She wanted to escape the family pressures and celebrate her milestone birthday her way.
We were instantly in ore of Mary, she was so inspiring and brave. Mary asked us where we were staying, ‘why a hostel of course’ we were young and care free. She asked if she could come with us and guide her to the hostel. We thought it a tad strange at the time, in hindsight we were not mature enough to realise hostels were not just for young ones. We wondered why she hadn't had pre-planned accommodation, how irresponsible at eighty she should know better right?
She was serious. We absolutely forgot to take note that she was once young and had lived a fun life. Age to Mary was no barrier.
We got off the shuttle bus, and there she was behind us. Mary kept up with us walking the streets of Prague in the middle of the night, she was hilarious. These young men too were wandering the streets and talking to us. What I loved is that Mary was the coolest grandma to someone and she was telling the men how lovely they were and in that moment it seemed she was trying to hook us all up. She was totally engaged in the conversation, not feeling fragile, not feeling scared, just totally captivated in her freedom to be in the moment.
We arrived at the hostel, she too booked into a room. And we woke in the morning not ever expecting to see her again. And there she was, perky as ever, striking up conversation with everyone in the breakfast room. People were huddled around her, listening to her fascinating stories, Mary's energy was truly infectious.
No matter what your age, you can always learn or experience a moment with someone that is not like you.
This is one of the richest learning curves for me as a twenty five year old woman learning what the world was about. How to not make judgement based on age and assuming she was not a good fit with me.
Mary was such an inspiring woman who has left a warm place in my heart. For her to simply book a midnight flight and launch herself into a foreign country with no accommodation booked, wandering the streets with strangers in the night. I love travel, and I do hope I am as brave and courageous as Mary when I’m eighty years old.
Open our minds, be curious about all those you come in contact with and learn the power of how you can be a better person. You never know, you may just make a small change in the way you think, see and behave in the world. In return being a better version of you.