Five Pieces of Wisdom the Snowbirds Taught Me

snow birds
Image via Shannon Watt

In our pursuit of traveling in warm weather during the winter, we’ve been living amongst the “snowbirds”– retired people who spend half the year in Arizona, then leave once the summer heat sets in. As we’ve spent the past couple weeks eating, camping and mingling with a generation that primarily grew up between the Korean and Vietnam wars, I’ve been reminded of FIVE important life lessons.

Slow down

Seniors aren’t ever in a hurry. While that drives me crazy sometimes, it’s usually a good reminder to take the time to enjoy life. Spending a few more minutes enjoying nature or reflecting on my blessings would be good for my soul

In the end, it’s about Relationships

As I’m sitting in McDonalds, savoring the free WiFi, I’ve been watching the retirees come and go. It’s sweet to see how many of them come in with at least one, if not several other couples. They love being surrounded with friends, chatting over coffee about their day. With all the free time on their hands, they choose to spend it nurturing relationships. I can’t help but think how much room for improvement I have in the friendship category of my life.

Note taken.

Take care of my body

There’s no better scare tactic about eating healthy and exercising than watching flocks of elderly people shuffle around with various ailments. It’s easy to live in denial, thinking I’m invincible until I see my potential future staring back at me. Quite a wake up call.

Exude Love

You’ll never meet a nicer group of people than older folks. They have manners. They will strike up a conversation at any time, no matter where you are. They love to connect and nurture others, thus why they have dogs I guess. There’s no better-kept pet than a senior citizen’s dog.

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At an RV show we attended, numerous booths were dedicated to pet accessories, and the aisles were lined with dogs been pushed in specialized “baby” strollers. There were even men carrying their pooches in Baby Bjorn-styled baby slings. It was a crazy site,  but  I bet those pups are just as pampered as their grandkids This was a great reminder that the elderly still have a lot of love to give, and they exude it. So should I.

Patriotism and love of country

I’d bet there’s not a more patriotic cross-section of America than those over 55+. Many of them grew up in an era my kids will never know or probably understand. And despite the radical cultural, political and technological transformation our country has made in the past 50 years, they are still proud to be an American. Drive through any RV park in America and the majority of the vehicles will have a flag plastered somewhere on it. Many display a flagpole on the back, with an American flag flying 15’ in the air above it.  Several will also have their military service proudly displayed in their window or on their RV. It’s heartwarming to see people who still cherish their homeland, their service to it and are proud to show it. 

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Once again, my travels have been more rewarding than I’d originally expected.  We came south to avoid snow and cold weather. However, we’ve gained more light than just from the sun. We’ve been reminded of what matters most in life, and for that, I will always be grateful for my winter with the Snowbirds.

What have your elders taught you? 

What do you think?

Five Pieces of Wisdom the Snowbirds Taught Me

Shannon is a mother of 3 teens, who hit 40 and decided that instead of a "mid-life crisis", she wanted an adventure of a lifetime. She convinced her wonderfully open-minded husband to pack up their house, sell most of their possessions, and travel the USA in an RV for a year or two. Besides homeschooling her kids, running their online program, Watts in the World, Shannon loves to explore new places. Nothing is more exciting than waking up in a new city everyday, and discovering what's great abou ... More

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