Being 20

Recently our grandson Logan, came for a visit. Pandemic or not, he just wanted to spend time with us because he loves us so much and missed us terribly. Okay, that’s my reason for his visit. Truth be told, he did want to spend time with us before going back to college in January but, even more so, he was bored and wanted time away from his father and brother with whom he’s been in locked-down for the past 7 months. Well, regardless of the reason, his or mine, we spent 5 wonderful days together.

Like any good grandmother, I stocked up on his favorite foods – pizza, Penne pasta, Marinara sauce, Raspberry Snapple, popcorn with my secret seasoning, Jelly Bellies and Cookie Dough ice cream. A nutritional menu that would have any nutritionist dropping dead on the spot. Well, after many years and much frustration, like everyone else, I’ve given up trying to convince him that veggies, fruit and green stuff are good.

One thing Jeff, Logan and I all have in common is the love of golf and bowling so Jeff arranged for 3 rounds of golf and an afternoon of bowling. We’re also a game-loving family so I gathered the evening entertainment which consisted of Rummikube, Phase 10 and cards for Hand and Glove. The ‘art of the play’, the bantering and the competition are fun but the best part are the discussions. We talked about current events, the state of our country, and what’s happening in the family. It’s an experience to see the world through his 20-year old eyes. For the most part, his views are black and white with very little gray, his passion electric and his willingness to concede that an older person’s perspective might have value is almost nil. He is, after all, 20 and like other 20 year olds his wealth of knowledge, depth of wisdom and ‘years’ of experience trump the opinions of his ‘old’ grandparents.

This got me thinking about when I was his age. Did my ‘20 years of education, wisdom and experience’ trump that of my parents? Of course it didn’t but I was 20 and didn’t know better. How I would love to impart my many years of wisdom and experience to both of my grandsons however, it would probably go in one ear and out the other accompanied by the ever present eye-roll. The next best thing? Create a list of the best ‘words of wisdom’ my current self would tell my 20-year old self.

  • Decide every morning when you get up to be happy. Life is a choice and you have total control…over yourself.
  • Make your health your number one priority. Eat well, exercise and get plenty of sleep. Without your  health, little is possible.
  • Develop a forgiving heart and a thick skin. Let petty things roll off you. If a situation really bothers you, think about it from both sides before making a judgment. Remember there’s usually a ‘reason’ behind  what people do. Find out. People aren’t perfect…you included.
  • Be grateful for everyone and everything. Demonstrate your gratefulness by your actions. Talk is cheap.
  • Be kind to everyone you come in contact with. You never know what battle they may be fighting and your  kind gesture or words just might help.
  • Reach for the moon. Listen to the advice of others but don’t let their ‘fear’ of doing something new or different or outside their comfort zone interfere with your dreams.
  • In your professional life, discover what you love to do and do it. There’s nothing more rewarding than waking up on a Monday morning excited about getting to work…even after a long weekend.
  • Travel and try new things. In a blink of an eye, you’re celebrating your 30th, 40th and older birthdays and    asking yourself ‘Where did the years go?’, ‘What have I accomplished?’ Make every day count.
  • Learn to admit when you’ve made a mistake without making excuses, justifications or explanations. “I’m sorry, I was wrong” are magical words.
  • Thank God every day for all you have – family, friends, and health. The rest is window-dressing.

If I was given the option of being 20 again, would I do it? Sure, a toned body, a laissez faire attitude and a working metabolism would be great but, in the end, a poor tradeoff for so many benefits that comes with age. I’ll stick with where I am and what I know…but that metabolism sure would be nice.

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