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8 Questions to Ask Your Aging Parent

8 Questions to Ask Your Aging Parent

    Photo credit: Rosie O'Beirne (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

    We spend so much of our lives with our parents and yet most of it is devoted to routine and commonplace things.

    But we rarely discuss the profound.

    Time is short and unfortunately we are all getting older. There may never be a better time than now to have a meaningful conversation with your parent or parents.

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    You sometimes hear people say that they regret missed opportunities while their parents were alive and that there were things they wish they had spoken about. Make sure that you seize the chance while you can.

    Here are some good questions to ask your parent or parents:

    1. Can you tell me a story about your parents or grandparents?

    Family history is much more than a family tree and a photo album. It is also a collection of stories which become your family folklore. Be sure to have some stories about your ancestors that you can pass on to your descendants.

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    2. Can you tell me a story about when you were a child?

    Stories about their adventures, hopes, fears and relationships with friends and parents can be fascinating and revealing. Why not record them on video?

    3. Can you tell me a story about me as a child?

    Your parents will remember funny or embarrassing things about you as a little child. These will be handy when one day your child asks you question 2 above.

    4. What is the one piece of advice you would like to share with me?

    Your parents have a lifetime of experience and there are still things that you can learn from them. They may share something philosophical, funny or silly. Whatever it is it can pass into the family sayings and mythology.

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    5. What thing in your life made you the happiest or the proudest?

    Let’s talk about the good things in their lives; their achievements, joys and moments of pride. You may yourself feature there.

    6. What is your biggest regret? What would you have done differently?

    Perhaps this is a sad area that you would rather not explore but sometimes the answer can be revealing and explain things about your parents that you did not realise or understand.

    7. What event had the biggest impact on you?

    Perhaps it was something to do with a war or a disaster. What was it that made a big impression?  See if you can learn exactly how they felt and reacted at the time. It might put something you had only ever read about into the personal context of your parent.

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    8. What plans should we make for the future?

    Many people feel uncomfortable talking about future plans that include what happens after their parents pass. But these are important issues and it is better to broach them. Where will they live if they can no longer manage where they are? Is there a will? What do they want to do with the heirlooms? What sort of funeral would they want?

    The next time your see your aging parents don’t just talk about minor domestic matters. Try raising some of the big questions above and then listen carefully to their answers. You may be surprised at what you learn.

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    Paul Sloane

    Professional Keynote Speaker, Author, Innovation Expert

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    Last Updated on June 13, 2019

    How to Quit Your Boring Life and Start Living an Interesting One

    How to Quit Your Boring Life and Start Living an Interesting One

    Think you have a boring life?

    The definition of boring is dull or not interesting. Maybe you’ve been doing the same thing and living the same life for too long, or maybe your daily routine is limiting your growth and happiness. Whatever your reason is, the following list of 20 things can definitely make any day more interesting. Some of them are silly, while some are more meaningful, so hopefully just reading the list makes your life less boring and sparks your creativity.

    Let’s dive in the list to quit your boring life and start living an interesting (and meaning) one!

    1. Channel Your 7-Year-Old Self

    What would he or she want to do right now? Color? Paint? Run around outside? Play dress up? Eat with your hands? Play that instrument hiding in the back of your closet that you haven’t touched in years?

    Just because you’re a grown up doesn’t mean any of this stuff will be less enjoyable than you remember it. Give yourself permission to play.

    2. Go Play with Kids

    Speaking of little kids, if you have your own or access to any (in a non-creepy way, like they’re your niece or your best friend’s kid, you get the idea) go play with them!

    They didn’t create an entire show called Kids Say The Darndest Things because kids aren’t hilarious. They also keep things so simple, and we can really stand to be reminded of this and stop allowing ourselves to get bogged down in boring details.

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    3. Order a Hot Dog

    While you’re eating it, Google: “What’s in a hot dog?” You decide whether or not you want to finish it.

    4. For the Ladies: Wear Your Sexiest Lingerie Under Your Work Clothes

    Your “little secret” will leave you feeling anything but boring all day!

    5. Play Cell Phone Roulette

    You’ll need at least one buddy for this. Scroll through the contacts in your phone, stop on a random one and call the person.

    You could spark an incredible catch up session or be incredibly awkward. Neither are boring.

    6. Fill out a Pack of Thank-You Cards

    Give them to random people who probably don’t get thanked too often for doing what they do ever day.

    Ideas: police officers, librarians, servers, baristas, cab drivers, sanitation workers, teachers, people behind any check out counter, receptionists, your friends, the guy at the falafel stand, etc.

    7. Sign up for a Class in Something You’ve “Always Wanted to Do”, or Something That Makes You Really Uncomfortable

    Ideas: pole dancing, salsa lessons, improv, pottery, cooking, knitting (yup, there are classes for this, too!), karate, boxing, something techy like the workshops they run in Apple stores, get Rosetta Stone and learn that language you’ve always wanted to speak, etc.

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    What’s good about joining an interest class is that you will also meet new people!

    8. Interview Your Grandparents About Their Lives

    You can bet they’ve had some crazy experiences you probably never knew about.

    9. Get up on Stage at an Open Mic Night

    Whether you’re funny or not, get up on stage and just talk funny. And if you’re not, memorize a few of your favorite jokes and tell those!

    10. Do Something for Someone Else That You Wish Someone Would Do for You

    We all have a few ideas on this list. I promise you will feel amazing after and anything but bored.

    11. Start a DIY Project in Your Home

    It doesn’t have to be super complicated. If you need ideas, there’re plenty on Pinterest. Or you can also check out these 30 Awesome DIY Projects that You’ve Never Heard of.

    12. Plan a Weekend Trip or an All-Out Vacation

    This will give you something to look forward to.

    Even if you don’t have the time or money to go on a vacation, plan for a staycation, which is same fun and relaxing!

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    13. People Watch

    Find a bench in a crowded area (centers of transportation like airports, bus stops and train stations are great for this!) and just observe.

    People are infinitely interesting.

    14. Eat Something You’ve Never Eaten Before

    Bonus points if it’s a random fruit or veggie.

    15. Dance

    You can get your friends together for a night on the town or just pull up a video on YouTube and bust a move from your own living room.

    If you’re feeling extra brave, you can even dance in public and get other people involved.

    16. Go to YOUTUBE and Search “Funny Pets” or “Funny Babies”

    This is also a great quickie ab workout as you will be laughing hysterically.

    17. Pick up a Book and Start Reading

    Check out the NY Times Best Sellers lists and grab a new book you can get lost in.

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    18. Step Away from the Computer and Go Get Some Time with People You Care About in Real Life

    Facebook stalking doesn’t count as real social interaction. You can even share this post with your friends and vote on which one you’d like to do together!

    19. Check out a Museum You’ve Never Been to Before

    OK, depending on your interests, this one might actually be boring. If you love learning, art or different cultures though, this one is for you!

    20. Write a List of Things You Desire and Truly Want

    This is a great way to help you figure out the real reason why you’re feeling bored about your life. Maybe you haven’t really done things that you truly enjoy? Maybe what you’ve wanted to do all the time has been left behind?

    Think about the list of things you really want to do, and ask yourself why you aren’t doing these things (yet). Then start taking your first step to make what you want happen.

    Now go make your life interesting and live your dream life!

    More About Living a Fulfilling Life

    Featured photo credit: Kev Costello via unsplash.com

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