By Diane Ako
Natalie Parker is a young woman in her mid-20s who spent time a few years ago as an intern at the Rehabilitation Hospital of the Pacific in Nuuanu, helping seniors engage in day-to-day activities. "I was so appreciative of the advice and lessons I received from working with these senior adults," she says. Parker realized these seniors were an untapped resource and decided that the wisdom they had accumulated over their years could be as much of a help to other people in all walks of life as it had been to her.
She began a project to request and then collect handwritten letters and postcards from seniors all over the country, each containing short yet valuable sentences of advice or observations- "wisdom" -from a generation who could look back and reflect on what values and common sense ideas had proven useful and helpful for them over the years.
She then compiled -from hundreds of responses- 35 of her favorites and juxtaposed the quotes with appropriate, though unrelated, old photographs, and published AGE OF WISDOM: A COLLECTION OF TIME-TESTED ADVICE.
This beautifully designed and printed book is filled with visual and handwritten treasures on every page. "It brings you back to the past," says Parker. "AGE OF WISDOM is very reflective and reminiscent...[the quotes] stun you with their simplicity. I think one of my favorites would have to be 'Enjoy the process.' It is a good life lesson and a lovely thing to think about now that I have finished the book."
I found it enjoyable to skim through, and a good conversation starter. It led me to talk with my husband about what time-tested advice we use as our own guides. His is Find your own path. That's how he came to move halfway around the world from Denmark to Hawaii, and that's also what led him to start a rather non-traditional business (a mortuary.)
Mine is Follow your heart. I went into television not with the total support of my Chinese parents, who preferred that I find a more stable, less showbiz career. My dad wanted me to be a lawyer. But I knew, even at 20, that if I had to drag myself to a dull job every day I would hate it in no time. I try to make all my decisions based on love, not money.
I would enjoy hearing what your guiding principle(s) are and why!