To me, Springtime is a positive reminder of the promise of change in life. One of my favourite yoga teachers once told me, “The only certainty in life is change.” I have to agree with her. The seasons remind us of the many little internal and external transitions that lead to noticeable differences in our environment. Seasonal change can be a great time to reflect on life changes from a new vantage point.
Personally, I tend to think about my elders and the youngest members of my extended family as the seasons change. What wisdom lies between the generations? Now that I’m in the position to nurture, love and raise my own family, I sometimes ask myself, what can I learn from my elders?
Having both Mother’s Day and Father’s Day in the Springtime reminds me to appreciate and enjoy my parents more often and while they are still here. So this year, I asked for a gift from my parents – more time to chat, to connect and to reflect on the joys of our life paths together.
Despite the Atlantic Ocean that separates my home base in Europe from my parents in North America, we’re all able to talk regularly and with ease thanks to Skype, landlines and mobile phones. This has been the most precious gift that technology has provided to me as I lead my own version of a global lifestyle in a family life abroad.
Intrigued by what my parents might say about healthy and happy living after having raised children to adulthood, I invited one of them to share their take on happy living from the perspective of a grandparent.
This guest post is by my 76 year old father, Dr. Eni, who recently gifted me with his pearls of wisdom. Here’s what he had to say about becoming a happy grandparent.
9 Happy Living Tips for Grandparents
- Be true to yourself and be comfortable with yourself regardless of the current situation because you’ve done your best, or second best or third best in life with regard to education, training, acquisition of wealth, family and so forth. It’s too late to start over as a teenager but not too late to undertake the second tip.
- Think positively especially in all activities of daily living and life challenges because it has implications for continuing good health. You can certainly start a new career, hobby or some type of profession or occupation, so long as it makes you happy.
- Plan and undertake some of the things you’ve always wanted to do but lacked the time or resources. This may include travel to some location of interest to you. It could be a once in a lifetime opportunity now that you may have more free time, more resources or a healthy state of being.
- Enjoy your children and your grandchildren regardless of their successes and failures as you perceive them. Don’t meddle in their affairs but do provide support and advice when requested, up to your ability.
- Join a club or social organization of interest to you. A chess club, a non-profit society, a gourmet group, a writing association or a birdwatching club are some examples you might enjoy. You may actually need to continue a particular interest when you’ve grown older to avoid boredom. It must be something you really wanted to do, enjoy or were interested in years ago.
- Periodic walks around the block every day is recommended. This is how you meet your neighbours, whom you may have ignored over the years of a busy working life. Besides, it’s good for your health.
- Maintain sensible eating habits. Avoid indulging in the gormandizing of bygone years or you’ll gain unwanted weight and associated ill-health over time.
- Change your thinking process to appreciate what you’ve achieved in the last 50 years. Not everything you’ve done is a failure. For example, raising the children, supporting your partner, promotions, completing your education or occupational training, surviving without formal education, being healthy, assisting other people, appreciating the little things that others have done for you…the list goes on!
- If you’re able to initiate a new venture after 50 years of age, then life and living can become more purposeful. Not everyone may have an interest in entering a new crucible of work and effort, unless it’s truly of personal interest.
Ideally, you want to wake up every morning and ask, “What good thing can I do today?” to yourself, to others or even to a situation you’re aware of! It keeps the mind thinking positively, reduces stress and promotes good mental health. At 50 years of age and beyond, a person has been influenced by various things in life, seen and done many things and begun to look forward to “older age” and retirement. When retirement eventually comes, you’ll find that life is more enjoyable through these habits. And you’ll be happier. Life and living are not punishments from deities.
About Guest Author:
Dr. Godwin Eni is a retired international health consultant whose career has included teaching and a Directorship in the Graduate Program of Health Services Planning and Administration at the University of British Columbia and as a visiting adjunct professor at the University of Colorado. He has consulted or advised governments, NGOs and multinational organizations in Africa, South East Asia, Australia, the Caribbean and Eastern Europe in health system reform, health service delivery, community health and health policy. His honours include the Canadian Immigrant Magazine Award: “2009 Finalist, Top 25 Canadian Immigrants in recognition of your achievements and contributions that have positively changed the face of Canada since your arrival” and a feature profile in the book Canada’s Immigrants, Heroes and Countrymen, Volume II by Robin Arthur and Sam M. Bayat, among others. He is a proud parent and grandparent who lives a quiet life with his wife in Vancouver, Canada.