The Great Generation doesn't, to my knowledge, have a set definition in the same way as, say, Baby Boomers, Generation Y, Gen X, or the Greatest Generation, which is a term popularized by Tom Brokaw. It refers to people who lived through the Great Depression and World War II. I guess you could say that fits, though. You see, my mother-in-law coined the term to me while expressing her deep interest in the opinions and wisdom of women in their seventies, eighties, and nineties, and certainly centenarians, as well. A conversation with her over Christmas vacation inspired this post because I agree, I think there's much knowledge waiting to be passed down, woman to woman, generation to generation. This is just the start.
1. Live Each Day like It's Your Last One
Because it could be. You never know. Most of us hope for a long, fruitful life, but for that to happen, you have to make the most of every single day.
2. After All, This is the Only Life You Have
Indeed. It's a cliché, but it's a cliché for a reason.
3. Stay Present
You can't change the past, no matter how much you regret something or how many times you wish you'd done something differently. There's no going back. At the same time, although you should always look forward, remember that you can't predict the future. Stay in the moment as often as possible. Cherish each second as it happens.
4. Find the One Good Thing in Every Experience
In every day, in every situation, in every mundane task – always look for something good, even if it's small. A blade of grass poking through the snow, unexpectedly making a new friend, finding something you thought you lost – anything.
5. Embrace Change
That's hard. Change is frightening sometimes. It's inevitable, though, that's the thing. There's no changing change so do your best to accept it, at least, even when it hurts.
6. Love Every Stage of Your Life
Don't waste time hating your thirties or dreading middle age. Nothing good can come of any of that. There's something wonderful about every stage, beginning, middle, end, and every chapter in between. Love all of them. Be your best you in each one.
7. Don't Spend Too Much Time inside
Get outside, wherever you are. Play outside! Take walks, go swimming, try hiking. Get out as much as you can, even if you're only taking the dog for a walk or mowing the lawn.
8. Discover Your Passion at Every Age
In your teens, maybe you loved going to concerts and collecting tickets. In your 20s, you painted, knitted, and jogged. You'll enjoy new things at all stages of your life. Part of the fun is discovering new passions. Some, like reading, biking, or singing, might stick with you forever, but you should never stop pursuing your passions, old or new.
9. Stay True to Yourself
Always be you. Always. At the end of your life, whenever it is, you don't want to look back and regret that no one ever knew the real you.
10. Embrace Age as It Comes
Everybody gets older – a minute, a month, years. Aging is better than the alternative, wouldn't you say? Don't fight the years. Don't cry over the greying hairs. Don't despair over the wrinkles. They all tell stories from your life. Ultimately, age the way you want to, but don't fight it too hard.
11. Never Let Age Define You
There's no sense because you are so much more than your age, at every age. I know it doesn't seem like that, but the world is changing. At least, brave, smart, passionate women and men are trying to change it.
12. Just Stay Young at Heart
In other words, stay true to yourself – again. Keep your sense of wonder, your curiosity, your exuberance.
13. Always Be Inspired
Something is always waiting to inspire you. You just have to be open to it.
14. Always Be Inspiring
If you truly live each day to its absolute fullest, this is easy. You don't have to set yourself up as some kind of role model, you don't have to be rich or famous, you don't even have to be well-known. Just being the very best version of yourself is enough.
15. Save as Much as You Can
Save money, mementos, memories, stories – but definitely save money.
16. Don't Stop Learning
Never stop learning new things. No one knows absolutely everything and there's always something new on the horizon. Don't feel like you have to learn for the sake of it, though. It's enough to pursue your passions, keep up with current events, or get involved with a new subject.
17. Don't Let Your Life Get Too Complicated
Keep things simple, as much as that's possible. Clear clutter wherever you can – out of your home, your office, your car, your mind, your garage, your life. You get it. Just ditch the excess baggage. Toss anything that doesn't serve a positive purpose.
18. Stop Waiting for the Perfect Time
For anything – college, marriage, babies, travel. There's never a perfect time. Before you know it, you'll have waited too long.
19. Keep Taking Pictures
You'll be so glad for the memories later. Just remember: fewer selfies, more group shots.
20. Get out of Toxic Relationships
Toxic relationships count as excess baggage, but they're also dangerous. Chuck them, even if it's hard. You'll find the strength when you're ready.
21. Always Have a Circle of Friends
This is essential. You don't need a horde of friends, but a few close pals are absolutely crucial – at any age.
22. Tell Your People You Love Them
Every day. Don't hold it back.
23. Empathize with Others and with Yourself
You deserve it. Others deserve it, too.
24. Let Go of Anger
Anger is also excess baggage. It's toxic, as well. It won't do anything but bring you down, and odds are it doesn't affect the root of your anger at all.
25. Don't Get Boring
Don't worry about getting older. Worry about becoming boring, instead. It's endlessly worse.
Do you know any members of the Great Generation? Have they shared any wisdom with you?