Success stories are only known about because someone asks. Older people have SO much experience and have been there /done that, yet our world incorrectly continues to treat them as ‘old’ or “outdated…”
The truth is…they do know more than us because they have lived longer, seen more, witnessed more, experienced more.
I attended a baby shower last weekend and there was an older woman wandering around. She wasn’t talking to anyone in particular and when I would walk by she and I would exchange a few words.
Like when she was cautiously walking down a 3 step staircase she laughed and said, ‘Ugh! They gotta install a hand rail for me!”
I learned she was the mother of the woman hosting the event and grandmother to a bunch of teens running around. I just assumed she was divorced or her husband had died because I didn’t see anyone around her.
When the food was set out I notice an older man who’d been talking to the group of men that were the dads/husbands of the teens. He too didn’t look lik he belonged to anyone till I saw him handing a drink to the older woman.
They began to talk and laugh. I was disappointed with my judgment of the two of them because “Dah…” of course they were together. They are the only two older ones here. Turns out they were the matriarch and patriarch of the whole group and couldn’t have been nicer.
When food was served I made my way over to chat with them to learn more about the secret of their long relationship.
They were both bewildered that I was so curious or cared to learn about them and were both very forthcoming about their feelings.
I discovered they met while she was in high school and he had already graduated. They started their family young and have stayed in the same area for a long time. We were interrupted by a few relatives here and there and while it was difficult to keep them remembering where they left off, Sally said their life was good.
When I asked a question to peek into their difficult times and how they overcame it, Sally spoke quick, “Oh…things were not perfect.” She looked to Bob and said, “He was a bit of a bear, he got mad a lot and was very grumpy.”
I looked up at Bob and he didn’t say a word but looked right from her to me and nodded up and down like he was agreeing with her 100%.
Sally continued, “I used to let his actions bother me…and I’d get mad too..for DAYS…. But you realize over time…I’m not a man person. If he’s mad, that’s just him. So when we’d have a fight or something would go wrong I’d get mad but over time…you let it go faster and faster. Now whatever happened yesterday, that was yesterday. Today is a new day. I’m going to be happy and not be mad and start all over like it is new everything.
The whole time Sally is talking, I would glance to Bob who just continued nodding. At a couple points he even mumbled, “Yep…yep…”
Then Bob says, “I let her run things, but now she wants to go on a cruise…”
Sally laughed, “We were going to take everyone but since it’s our first we are just going alone.”
Now Bob shook his head, “I don’t want to go…”
Sally looked at me, “Because he thinks cruises are for old people.”
Bob made a big smile. “I guess that means I have to realize I’m now old.”
They were laughing and I so enjoyed talking to them.
It’s funny when you get people to talk about how they met or where their relationship began, or anything personal about their relationship, they become the age of that time. People don’t change. They may get wiser but deep inside we are all teenagers, funny, cute and full of life. During our whole chat together I watched as Sally grew bright and beaming and Bob, a bit more quiet, was visibly enjoying remembering old memories.
If you’ve worked with me before, you’ve heard me say that, “People aren’t perfect, not you, not your husband. Right now you are learning new skills and a new way to talk, feel, listen and understand. If you make a mistake or screw up, give yourself a break. You are HUMAN. Tomorrow when you wake up, wipe your slate clear, tomorrow is a new day. Just pick up and start over.”
So here it is in a new example. Sally said that same thing. You get in a fight, you screw up, it’s okay. We aren’t perfect people, wake up and start over. If anyone else holds on to yucky memories and fights or lists of what you did or didn’t do, that’s their mess. Not yours. Think of how hard it is to save all that information in their minds when that same space could be used for doing something good with their lives, being kinder, being happier. So if this happens to you, this keeping score, or a grumpy partner, just shrug it off. NYP (not your problem) Those memories are poison that hurt your future. Don’t hang on to yuck – cause they do NOTHING to move your relationship forward. Hang onto only the good memories.
Think about it. You don’t have an argument with your kids and say, “Wait. No one move. Let’s take a photo of all you sad and pissed off faces so we can remember this forever.” No one does that. So why do it with your brain.
Let it go…