Have you heard? “It doesn’t matter where you go but rather the company you take while there.” It’s time to be proactive in building your circle of relationships in order to enjoy every destination. No matter what age, building relationships across generations helps you stay in touch with the radically changing world in which we live.
Nobody Wants to Get to 100 Alone
One of the greatest fears and challenges of aging is loneliness and being alone. When we are younger and surrounded by children, their youthful energy can be contagious and make us feel young. There are a lot of birthdays to attend, anniversaries to celebrate, holiday parties, births, confirmations, bar mitzvahs, family reunions, and many other opportunities to celebrate. Our calendars are filled with celebrations of the joys of being alive, with an occasional funeral thrown into the mix. This type of balance makes it easier to stay positive and motivated on a daily basis.
Celebrations Make Life Fun and Fulfilled
For many in our current generation of seniors and centenarians, they unfortunately experience more funerals than parties. When speaking to Papa Hy about this before he died, he told me about how sad he was when one of his pinochle friends had recently passed. They used to sit around and play cards together for hours on a regular basis. He missed their playful interactions and friendship.
Balance is Key
The imbalance between celebrations and sadness can lead to depression and hopelessness as you age. Loss is going to be a reality of our extended life spans. The longer you live, the more loss you will experience. Unbalanced loss without celebrations to offset them can create numerous challenges, including feelings of loneliness or depression. If you only have one circle of friends, or one friend, you will put yourself in a position to be extremely depressed in the event of a significant loss. The more circles you have, and the more places in which you are meaningfully connected, the easier it is going to be for you to enjoy your longevity. You will be more able to cope with loss and stay passionately engaged in life.
Embracing Your Inner Youth
I remember when we hosted a huge weekend celebration in honor of my son Cory’s thirteenth birthday. Papa Hy flew up from Florida to be with us, and when he got there, he looked every second of his 99 years.
By the time he left, he looked at least 15 years younger. Being around a multiple generation of people, while also participating in this celebration, really brought back his youthful energy.
Certainly, grief is a part of the process of loss but when your life is multidimensional, it is easier to move forward. Building relationships with three, four, even five generations of people balances you and stimulates your youthfulness. When you maintain relationships across generations, you stay in touch with yourself and the world around you. This keeps your senses young and sharp. It keeps you active and alive, so that you can live a sensational century.