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Spring Speaker Reception with Prof. Karl Pillemer
March 24, 2024

Advice for Living from the Oldest (and Wisest) Americans

In his talk, Professor Karl Pillemer highlighted some of the key findings from the Cornell Legacy Project, focusing on practical advice from the “Greatest Generation” for living a happier, healthier, and more fulfilling life. Professor Pillemer has published two books based on this research.

Prof. Pillemer shared video snippets from his Legacy Project, where he interviewed 1,200 elderly people in depth about what they learned over their lives.

Among the lessons learned:
- Live like your life is short, choose to do things that you love to do, and less of the things you don't.
- Happiness is a choice, not a condition. You have to take responsibility for your own happiness.
- Aging is better than you think it is. It comes with better emotional regulation.
- Live a life without regrets. Say yes to more opportunities.

The talk and dinner were held at Johnny Piancone's restaurant in Long Branch.

Tony Chen '12 and with Janie Hulse '97

Ed Butler '63, one of two winners of raffle baskets. Funds from the raffle will support the CCMO Alumni Memorial Scholarship.

Karl A. Pillemer, Ph.D. is the Hazel E. Reed Professor of Human Development at Cornell University and Professor of Gerontology in Medicine at Weill Cornell Medicine. An internationally renowned gerontologist, his research examines how people develop and change throughout their lives. He has authored five books and over 150 scientific publications, and speaks throughout the world on aging-related issues.

In a decade-long set of studies, Dr. Pillemer decided to find out what older people know about life that the rest of us don't. This project led to the bestselling book: 30 Lessons for Living: Tried and True Advice from the Wisest Americans. His second book, which focused on elder wisdom about love and committed relationships, is 30 Lessons for Loving: Advice from the Wisest Americans on Love, Relationships, and Marriage. Dr. Pillemer is the creator of "Building a Community Together", a project that brings youth and older adults together for discussions of life wisdom.