My Four Fondest Wishes
BY: Almost everyone 65 or older
Hello, my name is Almost Everyone, and I am 65 or older. Here are my Four Fondest Wishes
1. In terms of how I feel and how I think, I wish to stay feeling as young as I can for as long as I can.
2. I wish to leave some kind of lasting legacy.
3. I wish to be surrounded by loved ones as I live the final chapters of my life
4. I wish for each of my grandchildren a safe and successful life.
Let me elaborate a bit on all four of those wishes:
Since I am Almost Everyone, I can be candid and tell you that at this stage, I am starting to feel my age. Little things mostly, but I’m aware that I can’t do everything I once could, and realistically, my physical and mental peaks may have passed. I may be, as they say, a little bit “over the hill,” but it’s not always such a bad place to be—when you crest a hill, you can coast a little. My first wish is just that the downslope will be gradual, and long. Ageing is inevitable, but my wish is that I can control its pace—slow it down as much as possible. Because I still feel like I have a lot to do and a lot to enjoy.
Not to dwell on it, but I want to leave something behind when I go—some kind of legacy—something that makes the world a little better place, so that is the second wish.
I want to be independent and able to care for myself as long as possible, but my third wish is that I can avoid the loneliness that creeps up on so many as they move into the “senior” part of their lives. I feel that I can handle everything that comes better if those I care about and love most still care about and love me back.
My grandchildren, on the opposite end of their lives, will live in a world I can’t even imagine, and my fourth wish is not for me but for them—that they will have the strength and the values and the faith to find their own joy and reach their potential.
A note from the Eyres to themselves and to all of us
We have discovered a secret about these four wishes that we want to share (although many of you may have already found it). And then we want to make a suggestion about what to do with the secret.
Here is the secret:
The best way to work on the first three wishes is to work on the fourth one.
It is our grandkids, and our frequent contact with them and our individual relationships with them that will keep us young!
Whether we are outgoing or quiet, famous or common, rich or poor, our only real legacy will be our grandchildren!
And the older we get, the more it will be our grandkids that we want to have around us, either physically or virtually!
So, by focusing on the fourth wish, we will also create favorable results on wishes one, two, and three.
The problem is that knowing that secret doesn’t make it happen.
We have to make it happen. If we want to be proactive, difference-making grandparents who deliberately and consciously work on the fourth wish, knowing that it will bring about the first three wishes, we first have to figure out HOW?
Good Grandparenting is an art and a skill. It involves some very sensitive things, like not overstepping our bounds and not stepping on our kids’ toes; like learning to live in our grandkids world and communicate in their language; like knowing what they need at certain phases of their lives; and like loving unconditionally and without judgement.
Our own grandparents probably were not particularly proactive—it was rare in their generation. And our own parents were probably not deeply or personally involved with our kids—they loved them and did what they could, but grandparenting wasn’t really a thing then, there weren’t books or guides or on-line answers to consult or absorb.
And there still aren’t!
Grandparenting today is where parenting was 60 or 70 years ago—you just do it by instinct and by trial and error—you figure it out for yourself.
And that can be OK, but most of us don’t want to have to re-discover the wheel. If there are proven ideas and best practices, we want to know about them. If other grandparents have figured out things that work, we want to connect and get those ideas.
The Solution (or at least the beginning of one).
We have been working with thousands of grandparents to put together a Grandparenting course. We call it Grandparenting101 and you can see the curriculum here . And you can sign up and register for the course here. Hope you will join us!
ABOUT THE AUTHORS
GRAND 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 have now shifted to the joy of grandparenting. Linda’s latest book is Grandmothering, and Richard’s is Being a Proactive Grandfather, and their latest initiative is a Grandparenting101 Zoom course which has an invitation list that you can join by emailing EyresGrandparenting101@gmail.com.