elderly woman

Blog Like You’re 80 (advice from an older generation)

Blog Like You’re 80

(advice from an older generation)

Could you imagine telling your stories, and holding nothing back?

What would that feel like?

What would you want to say?

If you had no fear?

Fear of

  • what others might think
  • not being enough
  • failure
  • hurting someone or being hurt

If you held no shame or regrets surrounding all of your life’s battles, what would your story be? Would it be the same story you tell today?

What would you have to do? What would it take for you to tell your authentic story? Maybe time is the answer?

elderly couple walking down the street


I have the distinct privilege of working with several elderly folks.

They come in frail, atrophied bodies with the aches, and pains that show their age. They tell me all the places that they hurt. The physical pains that have accumulated over the years. Sometimes they need help to undress and get on the massage table. They always need pillows and bolsters to prop up on because they can no longer lay flat. Somehow I always manage to get them comfortable.

As I start to work, their stories start to flow.

I am regaled with vivid accounts of a childhood long, long past. Stories that would make most parents today die a little inside if their kids did such a thing.

I’ve heard stories of businesses being built, moving families across the country, even about the time King George VI and Queen Elizabeth visited Canada. There is laughter and merriment in these stories.

Of first jobs, first loves, children, and grandchildren. Stories that hold so much pride, and joy. Accomplishment.

Followed up by the stories of losing first loves, losing children, and, sometimes even grandchildren.

elderly lady holding a picture of her husband

Heartbreak, sorrow, hardship. Loss. Also strength.

There are tears. (usually mine)

There is also a sense of awe, for these stories are told without fear. There is no shame. Regret has been replaced with acceptance. Everything just is. I am so fortunate, to see even a small glimpse into such beautiful lives is an honor. To be able to hold a safe space for a fellow being to bear their heart and soul, even for a short time is a revelation.


They have arrived at a point in their lives where they are finally free to tell their authentic stories. What a blessing that must be.

And a shame. A shame that one must wait so long to free themselves from the social constraints that dictate how one should feel while experiencing life. A shame that we allow others to influence our ability to express ourselves freely and openly. Also, a shame that we have not been taught to have dignity and empathy toward our fellow beings.

Allow yourself and others the freedom to live authentically. Click To Tweet

There is much to be learned from these seemingly simple exchanges. The wisdom in these lessons goes far beyond the words themselves. While there are many stories yet to be told, many lessons yet to learn, I choose to focus on these 4. Not only are they important to everyday life but also from a blogger’s perspective. I want to share them with you today.

#1 Speak Freely

Say what’s on your mind. Don’t worry about what anyone else thinks. If they don’t like it that’s their problem. Bear in mind, speaking freely does not mean being rude, using vulgar language, or belittling anyone. You speak freely of your affairs only.

This applies to your everyday encounters and also to your blogging. Speak your mind. Say what is in your heart. Be authentic.

Caption "I have something to say."

This can be a very difficult thing to do. One can become paralyzed with fear at just the mere thought of speaking out.

We are afraid of judgment.

  • What will our peers think of us?
  • What if we make someone angry?
  • What if they don’t agree with what we have to say?

These thoughts and many more can stop us in our tracks and prevent us from speaking freely.

The fear of judgment often stops us from speaking freely. Click To Tweet

They can also spill over to our blogging even though it is usually easier to write our thoughts than it is to speak them. The problem arises when it comes time to publish our work. Again, what will people think? It’s okay. Take a breath. Stay calm and start small.

Start with people you know well and already have a relationship with. Deciding on where to go for dinner? Speak up. What movie you should see? Speak up. Don’t settle without speaking up.

When it comes to blogging, start with neutral topics. This is usually safe ground that leaves little room for negativity. Keep in mind, negativity is a reflection of the negative person, not you. They have issues to deal with. Don’t make it your responsibility. Do, however, learn how to deal with it in a positive way even if that means not engaging with that person.

#2 Time is Precious

  • Do what you want to do.picture of an hour glass
  • Have fun.
  • Work on your goals.
  • Become a better person than you were yesterday.
  • Live your dream life.
  • No regrets.

If creating the world’s best blog is your dream, do it. Don’t wait, start right now. Want to be the best SEO expert out there? Go for it. Want to take beautiful pictures for people to use on their websites and blogs? Please do. Want to build websites or design apps? Do it.

If you want to take a class, do it. Travel? Learn a new hobby? Cycle across the country? DO IT!

#3 Receive and Offer Help Freely

Older people have seen hardships most of us younger generations will never begin to understand (hopefully). You have to ask for help when you need it and offer to help when you are able. It is the only way to get through some of life’s hardships.

Is it hard to ask for help? You bet it is. It can wound our pride and is very humbling, but amazing things can happen when you ask for help. Both parties may benefit greatly in ways you will not understand until the experience happens. Never be afraid to ask for help. Never turn a blind eye to someone seeking help. If you can’t help them directly help them find someone who can.

There is help for blogging everywhere. It is what we do. We blog to help other people blog or to do an unlimited number of other things. If you are feeling stuck, reach out! Keep reaching out until you find what you are looking for.

people shaking hands after helping each other

#4 Never Give Up

My Grandma would tell me this all the time. This, and “you can do anything you put your mind to”. I am still hearing this advice now from my old people. It’s hard to keep going some days when things seem like they are not working in your favor. I’ve been there, we have all been there. Get a clear picture in your mind of where you want to go, keep working, and you will get there.

No Brainers

These seem like such simple suggestions yet we struggle with them. I struggle, but it would be crazy to wait until I’m 80 to have this all figured out. I want to speak and live fearlessly and authentically, to have no regrets, no shame. To feel like I have made the most of my time in this life. Have I helped all that I possibly could? I don’t want to wait, I want to do this now. No procrastinating. 

As hard as it is to admit sometimes that we need to work on ourselves, I have had no better example of how important that work is as I see in my elderly clients. They are, and always will be my favorite role models.

And let me tell you if they knew what a blog was, lookout. They would be teaching us a thing or 2 about how it’s done.

SharlaAnn MatyjankaLeave a Comment

Thanks so much for stopping by.

Let me know what your favorite memory or piece of advice you have gotten from your elders is.

I truly love their stories and have a special place in my heart for my old people. (I use the term “old people” out of fondness and mean no disrespect at all, after all, they are old people)






4 thoughts on “Blog Like You’re 80 (advice from an older generation)”

  1. I loved reading your post. As a blogger and genealogist who is approaching 70, I plan to take this wonderful advice on board. Sharing your post amongst my genealogy community who I know will also be interesting to read about the elders you’ve been fortunate to know. Well done, on listening to them.

  2. I really like your writing! It is quite touching. There definitely are so many life lessons we can learn from people older than us. It’s wonderful that you can connect some of what your elderly clients tell you with blogging. That is very creative and it’s very helpful. I really enjoyed reading this!

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