Words Of Wisdom From "The Silent Generation"

Words Of Wisdom From "The Silent Generation"

What would you tell your younger self if you could go back?
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The past few days, I have had the privilege of vacationing with all four of my grandparents and my cousin's grandfather (who has been like a grandfather to me for my whole life). I decided to spend some of this quality time asking them to share some of pearls of wisdom that they have come to understand over their lifetime. Here are the answers that four of them gave to the question:

Grandma

Born 1939.

"I wish that I had known that I am the one responsible for my own happiness. I wish I had known how important it is to communicate your feelings instead of keeping it bottled up; you just can’t assume other people know how you feel."

Granddad

Born 1939


"I wish I had tried to reach out more and make new friends. I was content with my small number of good, close friends, but I’ve realized over the years that you can learn so much from others; the more people you come in contact with, the more you learn. Also, at the school I went to, if you reached a certain GPA, you could take the higher rated classes, such as engineering, which was my goal. They didn’t want to fail anybody, so they let you work at your level. Looking back, I realize that I only put in enough effort to stay in the advanced program, so if I had to do it all over again, I would have tried to challenge and apply myself more. At the age I am now, I recognize the importance of helping other people, and that requires a certain level of dedication and commitment, so I realize that you should give your best in any endeavor you’re involved in. "

Mimi

Born 1935

"Don’t spend time worrying, just let God handle it. Oftentimes when you think your life has reached the end of the world, God has another plan."

Grandpa Charlie

Born 1929

"One thing I wish I had concentrated more on was going to hospitals and nursing homes and helping people who couldn’t help themselves. I was more self-centered when I was young, but as I grew older I more and more realized the value of giving my time to serve others. It benefits me because I get ten times more pleasure from helping people than helping myself; the best way I can fight my anxieties is to help others. It gives me the greatest fulfillment in life; the more I help those around me, the better I feel. It sounds simple, but it’s true. I’m 87 years old, but I can get around, so I want to help others with their struggles. I want to look back and see the impact.
When I was married and had a family, I would get more pleasure helping my wife than I did from anything else. It lifted me up. However, I think I fully learned the worth of serving others when I went to eighteen different cathedrals in Italy in 2005, which kind of turned things around. I slept in one of the cells in Assisi that the Franciscans slept in 700 years ago, and the rooms were so small (maybe 6 feet), that when I laid down my feet were almost touching each wall. Seeing the Franciscans’ sacrificial lifestyle really taught me that the more you help others, the more you help yourself. Now, I visit prisoners in jail and comfort those in hospitals, and it is so rewarding."
Cover Image Credit: Lacross Groomer

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When You Make A Girl An Aunt, You Change Her World In All The Best Ways

When you make a girl an aunt, you make her the happiest girl in the world.

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My brother and his wife recently blessed our family with the sweetest bundle of joy on planet earth. OK, I may be a little bias but I believe it to be completely true. I have never been baby crazy, but this sweet-cheeked angel is the only exception. I am at an age where I do not want children yet, but being able to love on my nephew like he is my own is so satisfying.

When you make a girl an aunt, you make her a very protective person.

From making sure the car seat is strapped in properly before every trip, to watching baby boy breathe while he sleeps, you'll never meet someone, besides mommy and daddy of course, who is more concerned with the safety of that little person than me.

When you make a girl an aunt, you give her a miniature best friend.

There is something about an aunt that is so fun. An aunt is a person you go to when you think you're in trouble or when you want something mom and dad said you couldn't have. An aunt is someone who takes you to get ice cream and play in the park to cool down after having a temper tantrum. I can't wait to be the one he runs to.

When you make a girl an aunt, she gets to skip on the difficulty of disciplining.

Being an aunt means you get to be fun. Not to say I wouldn't correct my nephew if he were behaving poorly, but for the most part, I get to giggle and play and leave the hard stuff for my brother.

When you make a girl an aunt, you give her the best listening ears.

As of right now I only listen to the sweet coos and hungry cries but I am fully prepared to listen to all the problems in his life in the future.

When you make a girl an aunt, you make her the best advice giver.

By the time my nephew needs advice, hopefully, I will have all of my life lessons perfected into relatable stories.

When you make a girl an aunt, you make her a number-one fan

Anything you do in life sweet boy, I will be cheering you on. I already know you are going to do great things.

When you make a girl an aunt, she learns what true love is.

The love I have for my nephew is so pure. Its the love that is just there. I don't have to choose to show love every day, I don't have to forgive, I don't have to worry if it is reciprocated, it is just there.

When you make a girl an aunt, you make her the happiest person in the world.

I cannot wait to watch my precious nephew grow into the amazing person that I know he is going to be.

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Kit Kat On A Rainy Day

My grandpa went missing one rainy afternoon, but what happened later is very heartwarming!

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It was a rainy afternoon in the middle of October. The road was covered in an almost invisible film of water, and mud seeped through the cracks of the sidewalk. The wind blew at a harsh and firm angle. The temperature was sharp and bitter. I was in 10th grade at the time and had just gotten back to school. I sat at my desk upstairs with my legs comfortably nuzzled against my chest. I admired the lavender fuzzy socks on my feet while very blatantly ignoring my homework and other responsibilities. I gently sipped warm apple cider, carefully making sure that it wouldn't burn my tongue whilst scrolling through my phone. This rainy afternoon in the middle of October was seemingly very normal.

I eventually picked up a pencil and reluctantly began my homework, but was very quickly distracted by the sounds of panicked yelling coming from downstairs. I quickly made my way to the scene so that I could figure out what was going on. My mom and grandma were in the kitchen crying and screaming. My grandma sounded agitated and afraid. My mom was barely able to make out coherent sentences as she scrambled to find my dad's contact in her phone. I shuddered and felt completely frozen when I was finally able to understand what was going on.

My 85-year-old grandpa who also has Alzheimer's was missing from our home. My stream of consciousness was abruptly interrupted as I heard the door leading to our garage slam shut. My mom was going to drive around our neighborhood to look for my grandpa, as he realistically could not have made it that far. I went back upstairs and sunk into my chair. My eyes were wide and I could hear my heart beating outside of my chest. I trembled and cried. These are the kinds of horrible and unfortunate stories that you read about or watch in the news. You never expect it to happen to a loved one. The gravity of the situation is heavy. It's a very obscure and different kind of pain, one that cannot be justified with words.

The next thirty or so minutes were a blur. I was not aware of how much time had passed, but I do remember hearing the slow creak of the garage open. I did not get up and I did not run down the stairs. Instead, I sat there. I sat firmly in my chair, numb and completely frozen. From where I was, everything was temporarily easier. The pain of sitting at my desk was less scathing than confronting whatever was waiting downstairs. And then, all of a sudden, I heard very slow and uneven steps coming up the stairs, accompanied by heavy breathing. It was my grandpa.

There he was, standing about three feet in front of me. I examined him, head-to-toe. He was soaked and there were remnants of mud on his pants and shoes. His glasses were covered in intricate droplets of water, and his light grey hair was disheveled. But that is not what stood out to me. What made me want to cry even more was the smile on his face that was beaming with love, as his eyes met mine. He steadily walked towards me, put his hand in his pocket, and I watched his fragile hands shake as he pulled out a Kit Kat bar.

"For you!" He said with a little laugh.

- - -

My mom had found my grandpa in a Walgreens right outside our neighborhood. To this day I still don't know how he got there, and I do not care to know the exact fundamentals of how he got from point A to point B. This is a man whose life and memories have been unfairly taken from him. This is a man who can barely make out a sentence in either Hindi or English. This is a man who, to this very day, cannot remember my name or who I am. However, what this disease has failed to do is strip him of his innate kindness. His mind might be impaired but his ability to love is immortal and unbreakable.

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