We Grandparents Want to Share That The Best Time of Life Comes After a Lifetime of Living

During the pandemic PopPop records programs to watch and I keep a list of Netflix and Amazon programming, which we cannot prerecord.  Such has been the pattern, the techie and the scribe.  We finally got to watch the recorded the 2021 AARP awards, “Movies for Grownups.”  The winners were outstanding movies and shows to watch.  You can watch the well done one hour awards show on this link.

I loved the winners’ acceptance speeches. Here are parts of two of them:

Jodie Foster: “ . . .  there’s research showing that there’s a kind of happiness and contentedness that people have in their 60s and 70s that is just not available to them in earlier life. There’s a neurobiological change, where you’re much more relaxed about the future because you’ve already arrived into the future. And, you know, it’s not that big a deal.”

George Clooney: “. . . . Experience is the key. It keeps you from panicking in situations that you would normally panic. And it gives you perspective, because sometimes things seem bigger in real life. And then if you step back and you have a little perspective, you realize it’s not that big and you’ll survive those things. And so, experience is the whole game. It’s just unfortunate you have to get old to get it.”

It reminded me of two recent experiences confirming that the best time of life is reached after a lifetime of living.

PopPop and I are AV, After Vaccination, and beginning the experience of reuniting with old friends and acquaintances.  We are coming full circle, learning so much from the effects of the last year of isolation, sharing long (we never say old) memories.  We find our grandparent selves anew now.  Retirement, earlier than we planned or expected, found us, forced upon us in the highest risk group by the pandemic and our need to protect ourselves.  We grandparents are craving to again share the best time of life that comes after a lifetime of living.

How incredible it is to be a grandparent.  There is no parental baggage to make what we tried to impart to our own children difficult.  We found then that any advice or insight about life to be suspect because it was a parent giving it.  Our grandchildren really want to be with us, share with us, and listen to us and we have no other life obligations other than to give them our undivided attention.  We passed and learned from the stages of parenting, struggling to balance marriage, career, finances, and maintaining a household.  Parenting remains forever a responsibility.  Grandparenting is our joy.

AV, After Vaccination, we can again share the in-person joy of life with the baby and younger grandchildren.  We now have grandchildren leaving their parents’ nest.  Sharing life lessons after living a long life with a grandchild about to be able to see a future beyond the immediate family is joy again.

We grandparents can pay it forward to open the eyes of our grandchildren and impart life lessons.  Yes, we all, at any age, can still learn life lessons from others.  Having friends a decade or two younger and a decade or two older allows us to share our life experiences and learn from theirs.  AV, After Vaccination, we can renew our relationships and ourselves.

Recently, during one of our first in-person visits in over a year, I shared with my granddaughter that the reward for parenting is becoming a grandparent.  For some reason, my granddaughter and I starting talking about decades of life, how the twenties are learning about yourself, the thirties learning about others, the forties building family or career or both, the fifties hoping we have reached whatever success means to us, the sixties the first decade to begin reaping the rewards of a lifetime of living.  I told her that I was under the impression that I, of the current Boomer generation, would feel fifty at seventy and seventy at ninety. We have been independent all of our lives, successful, driven, busy and now reap the rewards.  Previous long (we never say old) posts give “Five Reasons Why Boomers CAN Move “Old Old” Up to At Least Age Ninety.” http://grandmother-blog.com/blog/2016/04/29/five-reasons-why-boomers-can-move-old-old-up-to-at-least-age-ninety/

And . . . .

I said I was under a misconception.  The truth is that seventy is seventy.  I stopped here with my granddaughter, concentrating on sharing that the best time of life that comes after a lifetime of living.

But. . . .

A lifetime of using and overusing one’s physical, mental and emotional attributes means a possibility of ill health, a knee or hip replacement, or beginning to really need the lists I have made all my life to function.  We, in our seventies, deluded ourselves that it would probably be decades before we may face physical, mental, and emotional challenges.  We thought good energetic health would last forever.

Although we grandparents want to share that the best time of life comes after a lifetime of living, we personally must face reality.  So, I did not share the truth or mention the next stage to my granddaughter, because I can barely say it out loud.  It is so much easier to write it.  The next stage is when our children begin assisting us. . . . and we need help with the challenges that also exist.  That recognition is all I can address.  As George Clooney said, we will survive these things too.

I appreciate AARP creating the awards for us grownups, uplifting and positive, of what we have accomplished, and helping us understand and appreciate this stage of life, still the best time of life after a lifetime of living.  This grandmother Pollyanna always sees rainbows in “young old.”  See post, “Young Old,” Wiser, Happier and More From Which Those Not As Fortunate in Years Can Learn.”

AARP Awards 2021 gave Sofia Loren the award for best actress and asked  “[h]ow does she feel about having a Top 10 Netflix hit at 86, directed by her son? Says Loren: “I feel 20!”” There is a link to 86 year old Sofia Loren’s seven lessons of life for us grandparents from someone who has lived a decade longer. Who best from whom to learn life lessons at any stage than someone a decade ahead of us, those who have lived longer and have the wisdom of age over us.

I personally do not feel age 20 inside.  I feel age 27 inside.  When I was 27, pre internet, we then preordered best selling books at the library, and waited our turn for them to come in.  I was on line, holding the coveted most recent best seller in one hand and my infant daughter in the other.  Next in line was a woman who I would have then described as elderly.  She was holding the same best seller.  She asked my age.  She then said she had a secret for me.  Her physical age was 83, but she was really age 27 inside.  Her body just aged around her.  It is a life lesson that has served me well in my personal and professional life.  I look in one’s eyes, beyond the outward aging, and see age 27 staring back at me.

We should share that the best time of life comes after a lifetime of living.  Hopefully, “old, old” is long after tomorrow.  Long after tomorrow, we may need the help of others.  May we continue to be young at heart and as healthy as we can be.  Or, at least we will do our best to live life fully today so we can accept the next stage in our lives when it is long after tomorrow.

 

Joy,

 

Mema

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