Nowadays, you can study multivariable calculus on Khan Academy, master the perfect winged eyeliner look on YouTube, and learn how to make DIY soaps, creams and butters on Pinterest. However, there are some life lessons that only grandparents can teach us. Here are the best ones:
Marry your best friend. You may kiss a bunch of frogs along the way, but you'll know when you meet your prince (or princess!) Looks fade, fortunes fail and crushes calm with time, but your best friend will always be there for you. No one will get you like your BFF does, so look no further than your best bud for your loving life partner.
Face-to-face time trumps Facebook. Let’s be honest: While you can text, tweet, or Facebook message your friends until your thumbs fall off, nothing can ever replace spending time together in person. Take a cue from your grandparents: Leave the cell phone at home and commit to spending some quality time with your friends. You will be surprised by all the little things you miss on social media -- the laughing until you're crying, the eye-rolls, the pitch-perfect sarcasm and everything else that makes your friends unique.
Embrace tradition. Whether it’s eating dinner together every night or making tamales on Christmas Eve, every family has rituals that serves as its glue. Keeping family traditions alive builds strong, unbreakable bonds -- and that’s a good thing.
It’s never too late for new beginnings. Starting over takes resilience and courage -- two things grandparents know a lot about. If our grandparents had been afraid to start over, we probably wouldn’t be here today. Many grandparents immigrated to new countries, changed livelihoods and rebuilt their lives after war, natural disasters, and financial collapse. Keep this in mind the next time you find a chapter in your life closing. Don’t be afraid to see what’s behind the next door.
Keep a family photo album. And no, we don’t mean the ones on your iPhone. There is nothing quite like sitting down with your kids and flipping through a photo album, looking through years of bad haircuts, first dates, and learning to ride a bike. It’s like holding hundreds of little stories in your hands. Instead of adding all your photos to Facebook or a folder on your laptop, take the time to print some every so often to add to the collection.
Appreciate the small things. Life is a whole lot better when you appreciate the gifts you have instead of complaining about those you don’t. Grandparents who lived through turbulent periods in history know the power of stopping to express gratitude. In the face of adversity, taking comfort in something small -- a loved one’s smile or the smell of fresh rain -- lifts the spirits. Science agrees: According to Psychology Today, “Studies show that we can deliberately cultivate gratitude and can increase our well-being and happiness by doing so.”
Never underestimate the importance of family. Family can take many shapes. Sure, there's your biological family, but an AA support group, an LGBT organization or a small village in the Philippines may be your family too. No matter how you define it, grandparents understand the importance of a tight-knit support system to help when life gets tough. No one has to go through life alone.
Cook the family recipe. We’ve heard countless people say that their grandma or grandpa makes the best, melt-in-your-mouth chocolate chip cookies. Or maybe it’s the best fried chicken, matza balls, pupusas, etc… They can’t all be right, or can they? There's something about homemade, time-honored recipes that just makes food taste better. Cooking is one of the most common ways our grandparents show us love, so show them love back by keeping the tradition alive.
Conserve. Time, money and resources are precious. Grandparents know better than anyone that these things can disappear all too quickly. Conserving our assets may be the most important thing we can do to maximize our time and increase our quality of life. Don't be afraid to brown bag your lunch, bike to work, start an herb garden -- its better for the environment, your wallet, and your health.