Interview with an adult about growing up and now
The interview conducted sought to understand life from an elder person’s perspective. The interview was conducted on Mr. Tom, one of the elders in our local church. Mr. Tom was best suited as the candidate for the interview for his repeated appearance in youth seminars and workshops to encourage the youth and also to offer words of wisdom. In many occasions, Mr. Tom has visited our college to deliver his usual speeches full of wisdom. The interview therefore concentrated on understanding what lessons he as an elder has learned during his course of life. These lessons Mr. Tom puts them as the golden rules for any young man to observe to lead a healthy life. Additionally, Mr. Tom is aged 81 years but at this prime age, he can still drive himself around with ease as if he were a young man. When asked what the secret behind his energy was, Mr. Tom just simply put, ‘living positive’. I probed further by what he meant with living positive. Mr. Tom said that living positive meant observing a balanced diet, doing regular exercises, staying stress-free. Tom was quick to point out that majority of the young people die prematurely out of engaging in irregular practices such as too much consumption of alcohol, hard drugs, failure to exercise regularly, and spending much of their time in thinking of tomorrow.
Tom went about to give a solution to stress which he noted is the root cause of the problems facing the current society. When I asked if it is true to learn from a hard experience in life, Tom profoundly said no. he explained further that only a foolish man waits to learn from his own experience but a bright person learns from the experience of others. I also enquired if Tom had one experience that he would regard as a turning point in his that changed the course of what he is today. He told me that, it occurred that he was sent home for school fees and his father was not capable of providing. He stayed home for at least three learning weeks. While sitting under a tree outside their house, he thought how he could make money and relieve his father who was by then sickling. He thought of selling sweets in his college to friends and colleagues. The first day he says he sold four packets and made a profit of almost double the amount he spent buying the sweets. He continued with the business until he owned a sweet shop within the college managing to pay his fees alongside those of his siblings.
I also asked him of the most important choices he has made in his life that turned out to be sensational to his success. Tom simply put it “there are many of them”. However, he noted happily that one of the most important choices he made was to marry his beautiful wife of sixty strong years. He has since enjoyed his marriage especially after marrying a lady of his dreams, who has stood by him for all those years, in both good and bad. Mr. Tom sensationally has a lot of advice and knowledge to offer to people of all generations. Most of these lessons he has learned them the hard way and he would not wish to see another young man out there have to undergo a similar experience.
Relation with aging theories
According to the activity theory, successful aging takes place when older adults remain active and social irrespective of the age. Additionally, the theory stipulates that the quality of life remains enhanced if the older person maintains his or her activeness and social interaction with others. There is a lot of knowledge to learn from the interview concerning old age. Mr. Tom described his youth hood and childhood as a troubled one but above all he remained happy and jovial. He says that happiness is the cure to all problems and stressors of life. Even at the time of the interview, Mr. Tom wore a happy face smiling all the way from the start to the completion of the interview.
Mr. Tom also puts that a positive life is a happy one. A happy life is therefore not attainable unless one interacts with other people in his surroundings. Majority of the older people die of stress and neglect from those who are supposed to give them care. However, Tom points out that its lack of proper planning that makes one dependent on others at old age. At his age, Tom owns several property which he gets some income on a monthly basis to cater for his needs among them medication. He has also enrolled in physical activity classes. Here he interacts with people of all generations, origin as well as diverse affiliations. From his talks, he is not a reserved person but sociable one judging from the manner in which he received me in his house.
Tom as his friends describe him has remained the same since his youthful life a jovial and charismatic gentleman. Besides jovialness, Tom is a generous person he extends a helping hand towards anybody who might be in need of one irrespective of their gender, color, origin, or even race. He even owns a charitable organization that helps street children regain a good life by re-uniting them with their family members. The charitable organization has so far reunited over 1000 street children with their families. Additionally, the organization runs a children’s home that takes care of children who have been abandoned by the parents and those who are totally orphaned. Currently, the population stands at 2,000 kids and all of these entirely depend on Mr. Tom’s charity alongside a few donors.
The hospitality and charitableness of Tom, according to many of his friends with whom we have interacted describe as endless. In his youth, he used to sacrifice his meals for the hungry in college and even back at home. This act of kindness many of his friends have come to call him “Mother Teresa”. According to the continuity theory, older adults will maintain the same activities, relationships, behaviors and acts as they used to in their earlier years of life. They do this by trying to adapt to ways and lifestyles that would connect with their past experiences. For Mr. Tom, he finds happiness and wholeness in whatever he does. He also believes that it pays being good to others and only God can pay for all the good extended to others. More importantly he identifies with religion and to that effect he is a facilitator at one of the churches in his locality. In fact a person of his stature and standing, he is compelled to ‘just be good to others’.
Jean Piaget’s theory of cognitive development explicitly states that the development of human intelligence progresses through various stages. In fact, according to this theory, intelligence increases with age therefore old age is associated with quite an immense amount of knowledge. Inferring from the interview with Mr. Tom, it is quite impressive how the man answers questions as well as his approach to issues regarded as complex to majority of the people. Additionally, Tom is invited to virtually every place where there is a conflict to mediate warring parties. Just from being kind and offering advice to anybody in need of it, Mr. Tom is a sought after man. Getting his attention is sometimes hard for the faint hearted. I have had to attend at least five consecutive conferences where he is the guest of honor just to get the opportunity to present my intent to interview him.
The theory of disengagement postulates that as one grows old, he or she tends to withdraw from those around them because they are only anticipating death. Also their abilities to engage with others dwindle over time. The process of disengagement is fueled by one’s desire to keep their reputation undamaged by not involving themselves in social engagements. However, this theory does not seem applicable to Mr. Tom. At his elderly age, he is more friendly and charitable as well as likeable by many. Tom has not disengaged but fully functional and strong and therefore, the theory that applies significantly in Tom’s case is continuity.
Reaction to the interview
The interview gave an opportunity to interact with one of the most sought after motivational speaker in the entire country. This is a rare chance especially due to his busy schedule of a string of meetings and interviews. It is a great honor for me since I have been his biggest admirer and when the chance presented itself, I had to grab it with both hands. From the interview I have also learned that despite one’s background, one can still make it to the top if only he or she is determined and focused. Adversities are just incubators that should give one the ultimate opportunity to think outside the box and become just anything he or she would want to become.
Staying positive in life is what it takes to remain active and lead a happy life even in old age. There is no need of one deviating from his early life because of old age. In fact by striking a balance between the various things one does is the ticket to a smooth old age. Before the interview, I had very little knowledge about the activity theory of old age. The interview has just opened my mind and thoughts to understand that life can still be full of joy even in old age. I was also pleased with the manner in which Mr. Tom perceives life. A man of his age still healthy, walking upright and can still manage to be charitable to others in the community. Despite his age, he is not sympathetic about his condition but always happy by helping others.
The most important lesson I can learn from this interview is that the power of a balanced diet and involving self in physical activity can actually give one good health even into old age. Additionally, life becomes what you make it. If one just sits and waits to be given everything, such cannot prosper. In fact, I liked Mr. Tom’s principle of risking everything to ensure that you arrive at your goals and objectives. All the successful people around the globe had to risk whatever they had even if only a minority agreed with them. But today, they have established some of the biggest empires in the globe employing millions of people. Fear of failure is the greatest enemy of innovation and therefore one should not fear falling several times. According to Mr. Tom, when you fail, God is preparing you for greatness and as such you should be ready to handle the greatness. Much of a successful life is built in one’s youth when one is strong but if that time is wasted on meaningless activities, such would have a distressful life in old age.
Life is what you make it in your youth failure to be responsible during one’s youth will definitely affect one’s old age. It is therefore of great importance to prepare hay while the sun shines. If only Mr. Tom failed to work hard while he had strength and a string of opportunities he could either dead or in an elderly people’s home. However, realizing his destiny, Mr. Tom purposed to work harder to have a good life in old age. I have learned that having a purpose in life is a good thing to do as a young person.