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Making Do with Less: Wisdom with Age Shows Us How to Weather The Storm


As the world grapples with worry about an unseen threat, we are all coming to terms with feeling vulnerable to disease. While our younger generation reacts at times with denial, at times with sheer panic, our older generation has much to teach us, and we at Discerning Seniors are listening. While we find it difficult to be still, our elders remain calm in this storm, drawing on past experiences where health was not a guarantee, where food wasn’t 24/7 and 365 days a year, where making do with less wasn’t a hardship, but a way of life. They’ve seen it before, after all, without the insured immunity that our modern world has taken for granted. I was reminded of this recently when I went to visit my dad to deliver him some freshly baked soda bread. From the second floor of his apartment building he laughed at my poor throw (soda bread is remarkably resilient, thankfully), and was suddenly reminded of being in a fever hospital when he was four or five; his mother, a doctor in the hospital, could only see him from afar. He spoke of it without trauma or fear, as at the time, childhood illnesses such as scarlet fever, measles, polio, whooping cough, TB and meningitis, to name a few, were a fact of life. There wasn't time to be overly emotional about it, perhaps because Oprah wasn’t on TV then, and people didn’t jump on couches with emotional outbursts. No, this era were better equipped to deal with uncertainty of life and an acceptance of its inherent risks. It was impractical to be emotional with things that were simply out of your control, best to put your energy elsewhere.

This kind of stoic practicality was also reflected very much in the cuisine of the time. While food wasn’t rationed any more, there was less available. People made do with leftovers, creating delicious things such as shepherds pie, usually on a Monday after the Sunday roast, or bread and butter pudding from the leftover bread. My mouth is watering just writing this! Food was truly seasonal, it couldn’t be transported easily over vast distances, so was limited too. Yet rather than view it as a hardship, when certain foods became available, they were true treats, savoured because they were special. I wonder what our Discerning Senior clients think of our hoarding and panic buying. They could certainly show us the value of making do with less. While we freeze at the thought of food shortages, our clients know there is enough to go around. Their perspective is less myopic, more long term, and with a heavy dash of wisdom: steady your rudder, batten down the hatches, and weather the storm. We hope to CONNECT further with our community with live chats, like coffee mornings about topics that interest our readers who can add their own practical advice. We look forward to hearing from you!

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