I started working as a caregiver with the hope of gaining healthcare experience and eventually pursuing the path of becoming a Physician's Assistant. Working with older people has given me lots of great experience that I will use later in life. I knew that I would learn an abundance of skills necessary for my future life. However, I didn't expect to gain insight about life along the way.
During my time with my clients, they would share stories about their lives, the experiences that shaped them, and how they felt looking back at their lives. I have gained insight from my clients that has challenged me to reexamine what I consider important and how I should live life.
Out of all the lessons I've learned while working with elderly people, these are the 6 lessons that have been the most influential in my life.
Take Care of Yourself
You need to start prioritizing your health at a young age. Eat healthy, exercise, do something to relieve your stress, etc.
In this day and age, we have forgotten to take care of ourselves due to the fast-paced environment that our society demands. In the process, we have forgotten how to eat right, manage our stress, and prioritize sleep and self-care. The habits you build now will continue to follow you into your later stages of life.
When you age, it won't become any easier to start taking care of yourself. Live your healthiest life now so you can continue to fully enjoy your life.
Live in the Moment
Take in the people that surround you and everything that you are experiencing. One day your reality will completely change and you won't be surrounded by the same people and the same experiences.
So enjoy where you are RIGHT NOW. Don't think about the future and don't get hung up on your past. Appreciate everything you have right now and enjoy your life at this moment because one day your life will not be the same.
Family is Everything
This is something especially important to all the clients I have worked with. The truth is that friends, experiences, and the materialistic things you want now will one day fade away.
At the end of the day, the only thing that truly matters is your family. When your world changes and you can't experience the same things you once did, your family will be the most important thing you have.
So keep your relationships tight and tell the people who matter most to you that you love them. One day you won't be so career-focused and headstrong and you'll want to be surrounded by people who care about you.
Life is Short
Life flies by in the blink of an eye. Whenever I talk with my clients about their early lives, they are always astonished about how fast the years have gone by. My clients tell me stories about their childhood, how they fell in love, and so on.
As my life starts to change and I get closer to obtaining my college degree, I am realizing how fast life is. I have spent so much of my young life looking forward to the next part of life.
As a child, I couldn't wait to be in high school. In high school, I longed for independence and to leave my hometown for college. Now as a junior in college, I am realizing that along the way I forgot to enjoy where I was and just live.
With that being said, don't waste your time on people and things that aren't bringing you happiness. Our time is short so don't forget to live a life that brings you true happiness.
This brings me to my next point.
This is something that I have especially struggled to keep in mind. I have put up with toxic relationships and experiences that haven't been meaningful for me.
When I started working with my older clients, I was amazed to see how many relationships had lasted so long. I also noticed that even though many of these relationships had lasted so long, both partners were still head over heels for each other after all those years together.
This made me start questioning myself. I began asking myself why I felt the need to keep people in my life who weren't adding to who I was, and why I was holding onto relationships that would never be long-lasting.
Don't settle for anything or anyone that isn't serving you. You are valuable and life is too short to jeopardize your happiness.
Your Life is What You Make of It
Not everything in life is gonna be easy. While working with many of my clients, I've heard tough stories about growing up, loss, and other painful experiences. You don't have a say in what you'll go through in life, but you have the ability to control how you will respond to the obstacles in your path.
Don't let the hard times hold you down. Allow your darkest days to be turning points where you become stronger and grow as a person.
We only get one life to live. Someday, when you look back at your life, you'll be proud of yourself for the struggles you endured and all the amazing moments you experienced along the way.