The Joys Of Growing Older

OLDER

The Joys of Growing Older

BY LINDA EYRE

Although I know that some of you readers may still be very young grandparents, I am here to say that getting older can be stunning. Like the first time you realize you see telephone numbers that you could see the day before. Almost overnight, it seems, we need reading glasses. But that is just the beginning. We are terrified when we can’t remember names, even though we can usually remember the first letter. It’s actually breathtaking when we suddenly realize that we can’t sit cross-legged to play with our grandchildren anymore and it becomes embarrassing that it takes so long to stand all that way up from the floor.

Together we have lived through trying teenagers, yearning young adults, hormone highs and lows, messy marriages, and the grand and the grueling parts of having grandchildren.

I have been in a delightfully stimulating Book Club for over twenty-five years. All have had the opportunity to raise several children so we have had fascinating discussions and commiserations about the tribulations and triumphs of our children from the time they were born and have rejoiced with the millstones of our families. Together we have lived through trying teenagers, yearning young adults, hormone highs and lows, messy marriages, and the grand and the grueling parts of having grandchildren. About twelve of us show up consistently every month (until the pandemic happened) to talk about a good book and our lives at the moment. Through the years we have served as a huge group of cheerleaders for each other—especially in our grandmothering.

“The greater part of our happiness or misery depends on our disposition and not our circumstances. We carry the seeds of the one or the other about with us in our minds wherever we go.” Martha Washington

Both during and after raising our families, all have embraced opportunities to give back to the world. Two have served extensive medical missions in third world countries to teach medical staffs how to save newborn babies. One has served with her husband mentoring inmates at the state penitentiary Many have served with their husbands as church leaders all over the world. They are writers and thinkers and full of stimulating ideas. Each has been a mentor in my life and taught me a lot about grandmotherhood.

GROWING OLDERAnd all of them have great senses of humor. We usually meet for lunch and then take turns leading a discussion about our families, our grandchildren, and our recent favorite books. During a recent meeting, our hostess just happened to have a small book sitting on her coffee table entitled, The Joys of Getting Older that she said she really liked. The endorsement at the top of the cover said, “An inspirational look at the beauty found within the Circle of Life.” The endorsement on the back cover read, “A straightforward, clear-cut how-to book for putting a spark (or two!) back into your life. It truly describes the magical beauty to be found in the twilight years.”

The authors were Thomas and Cindy Senior and the back-cover synopsis reads, “Thomas and Cindy Senior are the best-selling husband and wife team who authored Retiring Gracefully. Here, in the tradition of their previous books, they have collected all the best advice and share their insight into how you can lead a happy and energetic life after reaching “that certain age.”

We didn’t get the joke until we opened the book. ALL of the pages were totally blank!  When we quit laughing, someone seriously suggested that in response to that book, we go around our lunch table and each contributes what we do love about growing older. Here is our list of things we have loved as we have aged:

  • GRANDCHILDREN (this one had to come first and it came up over and over in different contexts)

  • More Time, Freedom

  • My Progeny: children and grandchildren. Watching them grow and having fun with them.

  • Changing… I can finally work purposefully on ways to improve

  • The chance to be reflective

  • Being able to plan my own schedule

  • Feeling closer to my husband, and more time focusing on each other

  • Discovering the real purpose of life

  • Learning to be a thoughtful matriarch and a thoughtful, deliberate grandmother

  • Experiencing simplicity

  • Having time to count my blessings every day

  • Becoming less critical and more empathetic

  • Feeling the power of friends supporting each other

  • Being a cheerleader for my posterity—especially those grandkids

  • Cutting out things that aren’t important

  • Realizing that age is liberating

  • Finding time for family history

  • Having more time for my own siblings

  • Being peers to my daughters and daughters-in-law.

  • Having time to think about each precious soul in my stewardship.

So even though we may have issues about getting older and friends who are facing physical difficulties like knee and hip replacements or are suffering from serious issues with family members like cancer, dementia and even Alzheimer’s, we can remain optimistic that there are multitudes of things to be grateful for as we grow older. I challenge you to make your own list. You might be surprised at what you think of—and how many times you think of your grandkids.

I have loved this quote since I was a young mother and find it now even more important as I deal with the ups and downs, crisis and joys of Grandmothering:

“The greater part of our happiness or misery depends on our disposition and not our circumstances. We carry the seeds of the one or the other about with us in our minds wherever we go.” Martha Washington

 

READ MORE FROM RICHARD AND LINDA EYRE

ABOUT THE AUTHORS:  RICHARD AND LINDA EYRE

GROWING OLDERGRAND is pleased to welcome New York Times #1 Bestselling Authors Richard and Linda Eyre as regular columnists.  The Eyres’ parenting and life-balance books have reached millions and been translated into a dozen languages.  As fellow baby boomers, their passion and their writing focus has now shifted to the joy of grandparenting.  Linda’s latest book is Grandmothering, and Richard’s is Being a Proactive Grandfather.

GRANDPARENTING

 

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