Above: George Dondero, 102 years old, on his colorful career
MERCER ISLAND -- Full disclosure: this is a bit of a personal project for me. I was very close with my grandparents growing up, and now that they are all gone I find myself wishing I had taken the time, particularly as a young and self-centered twentysomething, to ask them for their advice on life based on their amazing life experiences. Sure, they gave us advice growing up, and we knew bits and pieces about their background. But I never truly sat down and interviewed them; I never asked for their biggest regrets, their proudest moments, how or why they chose the jobs they had; how they knew they had met their true love even though they were high school.
So I'm doing it now, with all of YOUR elderly parents and grandparents. My hope is that we can give this generation what they deserve: an audience here and ready to listen to their stories; stories that can perhaps teach us all something about our own lives. They deserve to be heard; and they have amazing stories and words of advice to share.
Our first stop in this adventure was Aljoya Mercer Island. The wonderful folks there welcomed us in, and connected us with four of their residents: 102-and-a-half year old George Dondero was our first interview. One thing every single interviewee had in common: They all said they had zero regrets.
This is a man who decided, at the age of 67, to go BACK to work... and continued working until the age of 90! He didn't marry until he was 32 years old- unheard of back then- and his career followed his passion for creating and manufacturing things, including one of the first models of a release-free ski binding. Take a look at the short clips above and below to hear his story and advice on what really matters in life.
And, if i may give you this piece of advice of my own: if your grandparents or aging parents are still here, ask them questions. Ask them things you never dared to before. Learn their story; learn what they want their legacy to be. They have a few decades of experience on us, so why aren't we respectfully coming to them for the wise words so many of them have?
If you have a parent, grandparent, or anyone else of the older generation you think we should interview next, email me: email@example.com.
Below: George Dondero shares how you don't have be a 'leader' to achieve amazing things
Below: George calls this the thing he is most proud of in his life; plus, his advice for parents these days