My grandmother is turning ninety-seven this year. She wears leopard pants, she likes off-colored jokes, and she has been known to split a beer with anyone who cares to join her. Some of my best memories are of her diving into the pool fully clothed to celebrate her 80th birthday, or at a funeral when she was in her mid 80’s she leaned over and said “I like this church, next time I get married I will do it here”. She has been a source of joy, inspiration, and support throughout my life in a way that prompted me to think about what it is that makes grandparents so cool.
They Rock Their Style
Whether it’s a kitty cat sweatshirt that came with matching socks or a leopard print dress by Betsey Johnson, one thing cool grandparents know is that they are not subject to fashion rules or trends. They are comfortable enough in their own skin to wear what feels good and this comfort makes them look good too.
They Aren’t Afraid To Show Emotion
My grandmother cries every time she sees me. Joy when I arrive and sadness when I leave. I love how with age, emotions surface.We spend much of our lives suppressing emotions. Seeing emotions expressed with ease and comfort is inspiring.
They Still Learn New Things
Really cool grandparents are up for paddle-boarding or traveling to exotic locations. They see the third act of life as an opportunity to tick off the to-do list that got put aside when they were busy parenting. When you hear the phrase “never too old” you totally think of them.
They Aren’t Waiting to Die – Cool Grandparents Are Too Busy Living
I am inspired when I see people like Harlan Sanders who started KFC when he was 62. Most people think that the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s are the years to be wrapping stuff up. Instead the really cool grans are seeking opportunities for new beginnings. According to Bill Zinke, founder of the Center for Productive Longevity “Older people possess something younger people lack: namely experience, expertise, judgment, and performance.”
They Have Better Stories than TV
Having a rich personal history is proven to be a trait of a happy people. Reminiscing about how they overcame hardships, how they persevered, or how they remained optimistic in tough times helps to keep them positive and it shares this positivity with their loved ones.
Rules Don’t Apply To Them
Grandparents think you should follow the rules but they are happy to sneak an extra piece of pie or to cut the cue at the movies. They understand making lemonade from lemons. And why not? There have to be some benefits to aging!
They Have Candy in Their Purse or Pocket
Grandparents recognize that a little bit of sugar or gluten isn’t the end of the world. Sure moderation is a virtue but they enjoy being the source of their grandchild’s special treats. They always look for opportunities (even tiny ones) to spread joy.
They Don’t Dwell on the Past
They live in the now. Sure their rich personal history has shaped them, but they discuss current events and want to hear your dreams. They lived the past but think about the future..
Good conversation is a delicate balance of speaking and listening. They have mastered listening and know that a great communicator listens more than he speaks.
They Hold The Family Together
Even when you aren’t together, the family tree projects that come home from school remind you that they are the roots. If it weren’t for them, you wouldn’t be here, after all.
They Are Generous With Their Time & Money
They remember what it was like parenting and they offer to hang out with their grandchildren so their children can recharge. They know that $20 in a card and an extra $5 slipped into your pocket as they leave really make you smile.
They Have a Passion
They might be environmentalists or politically inclined. They use their time doing something valuable and making a difference.
They Know How to Text
This doesn’t mean they spend a lot of time on devices, but they can respond to you and use technology to keep connected.
They Are On Facebook
Having a news feed filled with the people and projects they are passionate about gives them a sense of connection. Sure they may need you to explain the difference between a post and a private message a few times but once they get it, watch out or your baby photos might go viral!
They Spend Time Outside
Some like to garden, others hike. Cool grandparents recognize that spending time in nature is the best way to recharge.
If your grandparents are even one thing from this list, go give them a hug and thank them! If they are all fifteen, forward this to them and feel blessed that you have the coolest grandparents ever.
Love you Grandma! xo