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.
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.
Indeed. It's a cliché, but it's a cliché for a reason.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
In other words, stay true to yourself – again. Keep your sense of wonder, your curiosity, your exuberance.
Something is always waiting to inspire you. You just have to be open to it.
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.
Save money, mementos, memories, stories – but definitely save money.
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.
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.
For anything – college, marriage, babies, travel. There's never a perfect time. Before you know it, you'll have waited too long.
You'll be so glad for the memories later. Just remember: fewer selfies, more group shots.
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.
This is essential. You don't need a horde of friends, but a few close pals are absolutely crucial – at any age.
Every day. Don't hold it back.
You deserve it. Others deserve it, too.
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.
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?
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