Senior Resources » Maintaining a Mindful Life Through Listening

Maintaining a Mindful Life Through Listening

men discussing

Variety is the spice of life. Being curious and trying new things keeps life interesting.


Fortunately for us living in an active adult retirement community, there are plenty of new things to do. You can try some activities for a while, then for a change and try some new ones.

People Are Interesting

Activities are fine but people are the ones that keep our lives interesting. If you like to meet new people and carry on conversations, there is no better place than here in the community.


I got down to our clubhouse this morning at 5:45 to get in line to buy “It’s Showtime” tickets for the tribute to the Beach Boys and Four Seasons. I got a queue ticket and had about an hour to kill. I sat at one of the high-top tables in the back of the lower level and a gentleman came over to join me and we talked. Here is what I learned from listening.

Are You Listening?

I have been taking a course online called “Maintaining a Mindful Life” and we are learning how to listen mindfully, not letting your mind wander but really paying attention to what the other person is saying.  Part of this is not trying to formulate a response before the other person finishes speaking, but paying full attention to what they are saying. My course said to practice this, so this gentleman was my test case.

After talking about the procedure for assigning tickets, he told me about going to Gibbs Gardens and hearing a concert where he was really impressed with the musical group. He had gotten the business card of the group, which could perform all kinds of music. He was going to give it to Sean with a recommendation they be checked out for a possible gig at our community. He had taped parts of their performance as evidence. The group was also flexible in size ranging from 2 to 12, depending on the needs. I carefully listened and nodded. He was really passionate about this.

two older women friends talking on couch with coffee

He explained he had discovered a new type of lawn chair while at the concert, one that rocked and had a lift. He showed me photos on his phone of the chair and even brought up the Amazon account showing a video of the chair. Once I got home I looked it up and it looks like a really nice chair. I may consider getting one!


The photo on his phone of the chair was nice but he also showed me photos he had taken of the Japanese Garden at Gibbs Gardens with the reflection of the colorful trees and flowers in the pond were remarkable. He had a Galaxy S8 phone which he showed me had all kinds of photo features built in for Panorama as well as high definition. Looking at more photos, I truly have not seen this high of quality photos on any other phone. I told him I had an old S5 and may upgrade and he said I should get an S8, not the newer S9.

He had a lanyard around his neck which made him look like a coach so I asked if he was a coach. Turns out he was in charge of over 400 kids who were in a basketball league when his kids were growing up. This allowed him to spend some time with his kids as well and they ended up helping him coach and learn that skill themselves. He is still really close to his kids and attends every special event of his grandkids (and takes photos).

By the way, he has over 2,000 photos on a special backup hard drive hooked up to his router which he can access from any of these devices. He has organized his photo collection by year and month.

He uses this phone for most photos and even has a special lens that attaches to his phone. I didn’t know that was possible.

What I Found Out By Just Listening

cohouse fence talk

Well, I found out that by carefully listening and not replying with my own stories, I can learn lots more about what’s being said by the other party. I think we both enjoyed our conversation and said so when my queue number was called to pick up my tickets.


I didn’t even get this gentleman’s name but this is an example of the interesting conversations that go on all day all over our community. People are interesting if you only take the time to listen and hear with a clear quiet mind what they are talking about.

Originally published August 31, 2023

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