When I was your age, I remember thinking to myself that my parents didn’t know what my life was like and they the advice they gave wasn’t always applicable. And when it came to my grandparents, well they were old people and they couldn’t possible know what was up. Turns out, my grandparents was right.
There were a couple of things they used to say to me all the time that now that I am much older I see the validity of. Here are a few of them:
1. Take the High Road. It sounds so simple, and it is. But it is not easy. That’s the difference, everyone does the stuff that is easy. When someone is rude, mean or even vengeful towards you, you do not have to be the same way back. Be nice. Don’t lower yourself to their level.
2. Prepare for the worst. As with many people from this time frame, my grandparents grew up during tough economic times, and in a small town without much opportunity for changing that. It is good to prepare for things to go badly, to have things set aside “just in case”. Save for a rainy day, or a disaster, or whatever life may throw at you.
3. Nothing good happens after 10PM. Hahaha, yeah its true. Think about it, any time you’ve been out partying or doing other things that are questionable in nature, its after 10PM. You wouldn’t necessarily make the same choices during the daytime, and that is the point. Don’t let the circumstances or who you’re with dictate your behavior. Be true to yourself, night and day.
4. Save for the future. I love this story…my grandmother used to have a factory job, walked to work every day. When she and my grandfather got married, she saved nickels in a jar to buy him a ring. Yes, things were different then. She saved NICKELS to buy him a ring. Imagine how much value that had to him when he put that on his finger. I was honored to give my grandmother’s ring to my wife when I proposed to her.
5. Start your day early. As much as I hated it for most of my life, they were right about this too. Get your butt out of bed and start the day early. You get so much more done. You stay in the rhythm of nature by rising with the sun and shutting things down after sunset. You put in a good day’s work and then can relax AFTER.
6. Enjoy the little things in life. All of the trapping of luxury don’t bring you happiness. It’s the little things in life, like spending time with family that really brings you joy in life. Despite all of the work that went into a typical Sunday dinner at the grandparents’ house, I knew my grandmother enjoyed the effort she put in and how much they both enjoyed having the whole family over.
7. Work hard for the things you want in life. My grandfather went into the Navy as soon as he could after high school, he knew this was is best shot at a better future for himself. While serving in the Navy, he also got a degree in Accounting, and after he served his country and left the Navy, he got a job and also opened a CPA business at night. He slowly built up his clientele until he could make this his day job. It was a grind, I would imagine, but that quality was more common then than it is today. Everyone worked hard for everything they had. They are referred to as “The Greatest Generation” for a reason. They fought wars, worked two jobs, built their own homes in many cases…all things none of us had to do for quite some time. And we have them to thank.
8. Your past doesn’t dictate your future. Despite growing up in very humble beginnings, there lives was not confined to that destiny. They moved, got married, and built a life for themselves and their family. My grandfather retired at 52 after a business opportunity allowed him to do so. They had a home in Phoenix and a home by a lake in Pennsylvania, and traveled back and forth for many years before moving to AZ permanently. They took cruises and traveled the world, things I can imagine neither of them thought would be possible when they were young.
So if you can learn these things earlier in life than I did, it will serve you well. Most people have to learn things for themselves, but if you could stop and listen for a moment and think about some of the life lessons that others HAVE ALREADY LIVED, you may save yourself a lot of trouble moving forward. Don’t ever think that you are such a unique and special person that no one could relate to your life and what you are dealing with. Get over yourself, and learn from those who have come before you.