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30 Lessons for Living Karl Pillemer Book Summary

Who do you turn for relationship advice when you want to make the right decision in your romantic lives? Have you ever considered your grandparents who might be happily married for a long time?  You might read or hear a lot of advice in books or podcasts but getting advice from older people who have actually lived it, is much more valuable. That’s why in this book, 30 Lessons for Living, Karl Pillemer talked to more than 700 Americans who were aged 65 or older. Many of them have experienced solid marriages and some were less successful. This book is about 30 lessons that we can learn from our elders on how to live a better life.

  1. ·       Prioritize Relationships

  2. ·       Work-Life Balance

  3. ·       Embrace Challenges

  4. ·       Practice Gratitude

  5. ·       Stay Positive

  6. ·       Live in the Present

  7. ·       Take Risks

  8. ·       Learn Continuously

  9. ·       Be Authentic

  10. ·       Forgive

  11. ·       Cultivate Resilience

  12. ·       Find Purpose

  13. ·       Be Open-Minded

  14. ·       Maintain Health

  15. ·       Save for the Future

  16. ·       Savor Life's Pleasures

  17. ·       Be Kind

  18. ·       Communicate Effectively

  19. ·       Live with Integrity

  20. ·       Adapt to Change

  21. ·       Celebrate Success

  22. ·       Build a Support System

  23. ·       Travel

  24. ·       Value Time

  25. ·       Teach and Learn

  26. ·       Invest in Hobbies

  27. ·       Stay Curious

  28. ·       Express Love

  29. ·       Be Patient

  30. ·       Reflect


In this summary, I’ll share with you three key lesson that I learned from the book.



Key Lessons #1: To find the perfect partner, trust your heart, but also listen to your head

When making a big decision, like whom you’re going to be with for the rest of your life, it's crucial to trust your feelings. You should never marry someone that you don’t have any love feelings toward. Sometime you think a person is good for marriage but you have an intuitive sensation often accompanied by a belief that the relationship has no end. Following your heart means acting on this feeling and not commiting to that person. But you should also use your head and never marry someone that you just feel attracted to. Get to know your partner to see if you share common goals and values. Assess practical aspects like financial responsibility and parenting potential. Understand your partner's priorities because while different interests can add excitement, differences in core values can be problematic.


Key Lesson #2: Right communication is very important

The most common and clear relationship advice from older Americans is that the key to lasting love is having discussions instead of yelling or staying silent. Not talking is always a problem but talking alone isn’t enough. Developing strong communication skills and knowing when to have these talks are crucial for a successful relationship. Also know that partners cannot read each other’s minds. You might know a friend that has been in along term relationship and complains that her partner doesn’t love her. I have one and asked her why do you say that your partner doesn’t love you, and she responded, if he loved me, he should know by now how to make me feel loved. I mean come on. Just tell your partner what makes you feel loved. Don’t wait for them to read your mind.


Key Lesson #3: Have respect and use humor often

When older couples share their wisdom with younger ones, they often say that having respect for your partner is very important. Respect isn't just an attitude; it's also a set of behaviors. It involves openly admiring your partner and expressing appreciation for the positive things they bring to the relationship. Like saying, "Thank you, you did a great job," or actively listening can demonstrate respect. You also need to learn how to handle stressful situations with ease. One way to do that is with humor and laughing. Humor can diffuse tension and help you set aside anger.



So, in summary, building long term relationship is very difficult and we can learn a lot from older people. Listen to both your heart and head for finding the right partner. Learn to communicate effectively with your partner. And always have respect and use humor to ease tension.

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