Editor’s note: Portions of this article come from the Eyres book "Life in Full."
We think Grandparents can save the world.
Think about it. Grandparents in this generation are living 20 years longer than grandparents lived a few decades ago, and 65 is the new 45. When we retire these days, most of us still hope for another good 25 or 30 years.
What are we going to do with this bonus time?
Well, many things perhaps — lots of bucket lists — but nothing more important and more enjoyable than grandparenting.
We feel like the “autumn of life” ought to be about giving back, contributing and using what we have learned both to enjoy life more and to give more to those we love — particularly to those wondrous little beings we call grandchildren.
It’s important to be proactive about it. We need to decide what we want to be at this stage of life and be deliberate and positive about doing all we can to make these golden years truly golden.
A good place to start is by asking ourselves seven questions:
• How long do you want to live? The number of years you want will likely be a factor in how many you have.
• Who do you want to spend those years with? The people who matter most should get the most time.
• How do you want to look, and how do you want to feel? You have more control over both than you think.
• How much money will you need? It is a means and not an end.
• What do you want to keep doing, and what do you want to start doing? That will leave you with a lot to stop doing.
• What do you believe in spiritually? That will make a major difference in who you are and what you do.
• What do you want your legacy to be? That choice will give you both purpose and joy.
Don’t make the mistake of saying something like, “Why should I even ask those questions because I have no control over them? Aren’t are all beyond my control?”
The answer is no, they are not beyond your control. Of course unexpected and unforeseen things can always happen, but the fact is that we have a great deal of control over the answers to each of these questions and by asking them to ourselves consciously and deliberately, we will motivate ourselves to bring about positive changes in everything from what we eat and how much we exercise to who we spend our time with and how hard we work on the things that matter.
If we are not sufficiently motivated to make the necessary changes for ourselves, we should begin to think more of ourselves as grandparents and find motivation by asking who we want to be for our grandkids, what example we want to set for them and how much quality time we want to spend with them.
The simple fact is that many kids today are not getting all the time or attention — or all the guidance and confidence — they need from their busy, distracted parents. And that is where grandparents come powerfully into play. We can be the ones to teach these kids values, to take special interest in their interests and talents, to be their reliable champions and cheerleaders and to be there when they need any additional advice or help.
We can make a huge difference by stepping up as grandparents, by making grandkids our priority and by taking care of ourselves so we will be there for them for a long time.
As for ourselves, we are working harder at becoming more proactive grandparents who truly make a difference, and we are focusing more on this subject in our speaking, seminars and discussion groups.
As New York Times best-selling authors, the Eyres have written 50 books and speak throughout the world on families and life balance. For information about seminars and presentations, visit lifeinfullcruise.com or lifeinfullonq.com.