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Marjorie’s wise words

Staying at Home Connectedness Independence Positive Ageing Stories

Marjorie Suthern is an IRT Home Care customer. Here she shares her thoughts with The Good Life on what makes a person wise.

29 April 2022
IRT Home Care customer Marjorie Suthern talks about the qualities and experiences that make a person wise.
“It’s someone who learns from the different experiences they face, whether it’s travelling, work, education or family.”
Marjorie Suthern
IRT Home Care customer

Marjorie Suthern knows a wise person when she meets one.

“I would say I’ve come across some wise people in my time,” says Marjorie. “A wise person is someone who doesn’t judge but knows a lot.”

Marjorie lives on the NSW South Coast, and is an IRT Home Care customer. She grew up around Cootamundra in the state’s Riverina region.

“We’d get up at 5 o’clock in the morning to milk the cows, then get on the bus and travel a couple of hours to school in Narrandera, and we wouldn’t get home until it was dark and then we’d have to do it all over again the next day,” says Marjorie.

“We had a sense of what hard work was and understood what needed to be done. These are the experiences you learn so much from, and how you learn about the world.”

Research shows that trying new things and being curious in life is a key aspect of wisdom.

This life experience is vital to being wise, according to Marjorie.

“A wise person isn’t someone who just knows a lot about one thing, but instead knows about what’s going on in the world,” says Marjorie. “It’s somebody you can sit down with and talk about anything and they can converse with you. It’s someone who learns from the different experiences they face, whether it’s travelling, work, education or family.”

While attending Cootamundra High School, Marjorie met John, her husband of 63 years. They married in Cootamundra and moved to Canberra, where Marjorie worked for the Department of Education.

“It’s very important to find people in your life who can give grounded advice,” says Marjorie. “My former colleague was very much like that. He was someone you could speak to and ask questions without him thinking you were silly.

“It’s not always easy to find the right person to speak to. If you pick the wrong one, you can certainly be steered down some wrong paths!”

Research shows that trying new things and being curious in life is a key aspect of wisdom, and Marjorie agrees that it is important to adapt to new situations, especially for older people as living and support arrangements change.

After 39 years in Canberra, Marjorie and John retired to the NSW South Coast.

In her later years, and because of the restrictions imposed due to COVID-19, Marjorie realised she needed to learn new skills to better manage her life.

“I cringed at learning things like online banking,” she explains. “I resisted but I also realised I needed to adapt as I find myself in different scenarios.”

Marjorie is now doing things, like online shopping, which she hadn’t previously done.

Sometimes having the courage to try new things does result in making mistakes, but for Marjorie this is part of living a wise life, as long as a person is able to reflect on the decision, learn from it, and correct the situation.

“I went for a job when I was living in Canberra, which I was terribly nervous about, even though I’d been doing the work for three years. Another person from another office also applied for the job and got it over me. I was devastated. The next day, my boss came to see me and said I had my job back – it turned out the person they had chosen gave a good interview but had no idea how to do the actual work.

“I was so glad that someone was able to admit the error and sought to fix it, because I loved that job!”

For Marjorie, she hopes everyone can find that ‘right’, wise person who can give comfort and knowledge without judgement.

“I am a lucky person who gets along with a lot of people,” says Marjorie. “I hope I’m someone they feel they can come to for advice and help.”

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