Messages for young people

The most important message participants had for young people was about looking after themselves. They emphasised the need to make good decisions when you are young, because the cumulative effects of smoking, drugs and alcohol abuse catch up with you as you age. Eat well, exercise, find joy in life and be strong.

Robyn has found the quality of life you have when you are older is based on the decisions you make today.

Elaine M encourages the younger generation of Yolngu people not to get involved in marijuana and alcohol as it will make them age faster. Be healthy and strong in your heart and your mind, she says.

As older people are passing away, Oscar wants to support young people to become strong leaders in the community.

Another important message to young people was to live in the present. Do not look too far into the future, and just be happy. Dorothy used to love hiking in the Snowy Mountains when she was younger but due to mobility problems she can no longer do these walks. She is learning to live where she is at the moment.

Leonie advises not to ‘sweat the small stuff’ and appreciate what you have each day.

The men we spoke with were more likely to emphasise the need for a good education and to plan financially for old age, whereas women asked young people to have patience, wait their turn in line and do what they can to help older people. They also expressed the need to acknowledge the experience older people have and to listen to their stories.

Kaye wishes she had talked to her grandparents more about their early pioneer days in Australia.