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On the Monday following Thanksgiving, I got caught up in a conversation with fellow gym goers that surprised me. Two women I always considered positive and energetic were complaining about the effort it takes to be with family over the holidays, and it didn’t seem like one of retirement’s joys to me.

One woman said she feels old being with her teenage grandchildren. “They have so much energy, and they know so much more about electronics than I do. It makes me feel like a Luddite,” she said. The other complained about her brother who always had the “right” political answer and made her feel like a know-nothing.

That afternoon I happened to be checking for something on the Internet and came across an article I wished I had been able to quote for them that morning. I think it would have helped them feel better about those gatherings and realize the benefits each of their family members brings to them. Since that opportunity has gone by, I decided to share them here in the hope that it will make future family gatherings easier for those who struggle with them over the holiday season.

The following comments come from an article on The Most Influential People on Aging

Peace Corps Director Carrie Hessler-Radelet said, “I would change the perception that getting older means doing less. And that older Americans have less to give.”  OK, so we may not know all there is to know about computers, but we still remember how to ride a bike or dial a rotary phone and can teach our grandchildren how to do them…can’t we?

Life coach and author, Richard Leider, argues, “You have probably found that your purpose has changed as you’ve transitioned from one stage of life to another.” Does that mean you no longer have to be your brother’s scapegoat—the one he can bully and make self-conscious? You bet it does; now you can teach him a thing or two.

Dr. Ruth advises, “Enjoy the crazy turns life takes.” Perhaps one of those crazy turns is that we don’t have to be in charge all the time and that our children and grandchildren have a good deal to offer. AND think of the freedom that can give us.

Now that is truly one of retirement’s joys!

Yes, life is grand.  We just have to know where and how to look for the good stuff. I hope you can make every day of your holiday season as beautiful as it should be.

Please share the wonderful thoughts of these Influential People on Aging and LIKE it on Facebook. You may help make the holidays more enjoyable for your friends.

PS: Some good thoughts on making family gatherings work