We all want to live life to the fullest. We want to grow old gracefully and be healthy for as long as we can. There is also more to growing old than looking "less old." Our grandparents' generation lived a simpler way and, perhaps, it may have been the wisest generation of all. Here are a few lessons about life from both my grandparents and my husband's grandparents.
- Don't worry so much about your future because you will miss out on all of the wonderful things going around you in the present day. It's fine to look forward to your future and to save for a rainy day but it's just as important to throw a big party and make a great memory.
- Be grateful for the people in your life. Do not take those you love or who love you for granted.
- Take care of your body. Your body is the only one you get so treat is wisely. That means, eat well (not too much junk food) and exercise (but not to extremes).
- Writing thank you notes will never go out of style. Taking that extra special step to personalize a note shows that you truly appreciate someone's gesture. This holds true for gifts received or even thanking someone for hosting a nice dinner party.
- Enjoy the ease of the Internet but realize that it can backfire on you as well. Sites like WebMD.com hold a great deal of information but that doesn't mean you should self-diagnose. While Facebook and even Instagram are used to reconnect with old friends or show new ones about your newest outfit, there is no need to overexpose yourself or your every thought. Sometimes it's nice to have someone get to know you in person.
- Marriage is a wonderful thing and best to do only once (if possible). Falling in love with someone may ultimately bring people together but creating a long-lasting friendship and trust will keep you together. That friendship will help you endure all of the ups and downs that may fall in your life's path.
- Be accountable for your own actions. While you may not be entirely responsible for all of the things that happen to you, you are responsible for how you react to them.
- Be the person you want to meet. Be that person who smiles often, who laughs at silly things, who has a positive outlook on life and who is fun to be around. Those people typically attract the same kind of people in their life. It's a win-win.
- Be a leader not a follower. What that shows everyone is that you are confident in yourself and in your choices. Being a leader also allows you to live your life without regrets.
- If a relationship has to be a secret then you shouldn't be in it. This also holds true for friendships.
- You are responsible for your own happiness. Life may be unfair occasionally. Even so, you cannot blame anyone else or any circumstance for your unhappiness. Happiness is a conscious choice.
- Don't save your fancy clothes for a fancy occasion. Wear your dressy shoes, your best piece of jewelry and your expensive coat. Burn those new candles you bought. Why wait for that special occasion to happen? Today is special!
(Previously printed in Giggle Magazine, Gainesville, Florida)