Thursday, January 22, 2015

What Would Grandma Do?

by Maggie Kelleher

So it's now late January, are you still following through on your New Year's resolutions? If you are, good for you. I am thoroughly impressed with your tenacity! I can not say the same for myself. And I am not alone. 98% of people do not follow through with their resolutions, at least according to this article.

Why do so many of us put ourselves through the ordeal of setting yearly commitments in an effort to completely change our behaviors? Of course I always believe in working to better oneself, but there is a lot of research that proves that expecting big change to happen at once can often be a recipe for failure.

What is my solution to this resolution dilemma? In some ways I'm like a broken record, so you might have guessed already, but it's all about my grandmas. No, not My Grandma's the coffee cake brand, but my grandmas, the mothers of my parents. But this is not really about just my two wonderful grandmothers, but all of our grandmothers, (and grandfathers, too, while we're at it).

If our parents are a reflection of who we might be in 20 to 30 years, our grandparents are a reflection of who we might be in 50 to 60 years. They have lived longer, done more, and seen more than we could even imagine. Theirs is a long-term experiment in experiential learning. I'm sure every single one of our grandparents could tell us that change doesn't happen overnight. Each year of their lives does not stand alone as "the year I lost all the weight and kept it off", followed by "the year I learned a new language", and then "the year I got so organized that everyone is still impressed" (all some pretty common New Year's resolutions). If nothing else can remind you that life is a long-term learning experience, full of ups and downs, successes and failures, a reminiscence on your grandparents' lives might serve as that reminder.

Short term goals are all well and good, but they normally don't define a successful life. When looking back on the lives of your grandparents, your parents, your friends' grandparents, or really any person who came before you, how do you define a successful life? If you are talking about Steve Jobs, you might define success by status and money, goals and material acquisitions to which we often aspire. But do we define our grandparents the same way? Our great-grandparents? The everyday, real people we know, talk to, and love? When looking back at our lives at the age of 100 (it could happen, it's 2015) will we define our entire lives by our career status or by our level of happiness?

Sorry, I just had to. This song is the perfect soundtrack to the rest of this post.

I think there's only one real resolution, at the start of every new year, but also at the start of every day, week, or month:  
Be happy

If that means losing (or gaining) weight to be happier in your body, find an activity that you enjoy that will help you get there. Dance, run, ski, take your dog for more walks (I signed up for a ballroom dance class this Spring, I'll keep you posted). Maybe your goal is learning a new language, or taking a vacation to a place unknown and make some new friends. Do something that makes you happy to get to a place that makes you happy. Establish your values and work toward them every day, not just every January.

When reflecting back on life (from the age of our grandparents), we are likely to hold the view that our lives are defined not by material possessions, nor by calendar years, but by times of happiness, sadness, strength, and hope. Make a resolution to be happy, and spread that happiness to those around you. Take your happy self over to your parents' or your grandparents' homes and spend some time with them. I know they will love you for it.

Trying to think of something to share with your grandparents? 
Looking for something that will make you happy?
Look no further! 

My Grandma's is giving away a free and delicious coffee cake! 

Enter to win below and we will ship a cake anywhere you want it to go to cheer up anyone you want to share a smile with!

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