When I was young, there was no plan.

In my early 20’s, I had the chance to work in a nursing home for a year as the evening and night nurse. The airline pilots were on strike, so I had time off and was newly engaged. Life was great.

Being that young, working with elderly people could have been depressing, and I used to come home and look in the mirror and tell myself, wow, you look like a baby. I used to love when families came to visit in the evenings, and nights when I could sit with the patients and just talk. What amazing stories they told!

I remember wondering if they tell these stories to their grandchildren, we never saw many visiting grandma or grandpa. I thought it was sad, and they seemed sad.

One evening a young couple brought their daughter to visit grandma and she seemed so excited to see her grandmother. Once she walked in the room, the story changed. She became uncomfortable and wanted to go home. That got me thinking. Why are grandchildren scared, and why don’t the kids come to visit mom and dad?

The Visits to Grandma “Nice” and Grandma “Nasty”

As I got older, had children of my own, two grandmothers and two great-grandmothers. I noticed something interesting. My boys used to love going to visit one great grandmother, but not the other. Both had walkers at first and years later needed wheelchairs. Talking to the kids, I found out why.

The grandma “nice” was just that, she was always pleasant, with a smile on her face, took care of herself and greeted my boys with such enthusiasm. She always made them a priority, was willing to play games with them and do whatever she was capable of doing.

They used to go out for walks with her and the walker. She would tell them about when their grandpa and grandma were young, how life was when she was growing up, and shared the things and hobbies she used to do. She always had the best stories.

As a child, I found these stories so amusing, learning about relatives I never met. She would share so much of her life with us. If she didn’t feel well, then she would tell us that she needed a rest. I now know that she was in a lot of pain, but she just never showed it. She was a remarkable woman.

Then when we would go to see the other great grandma, the kids could hardly wait to leave. Her house was dark and creepy. She never smiled and when they came in, she’d say hi and then turn to my parents and start complaining. If I came with the kids, she would start complaining about everything to me and the boys just sat there looking at grandma “nasty”.

I know these titles don’t sound very respectful, but they are the honesty of children. She used to bribe my brother and me to visit her, can you imagine? I spent a lot of time with her in the summer and didn’t like her much either, but that’s another story.

Both of these great grandmas were the same age with about the same ailments. Arthritis, headaches, bad stomachs, and eyesight deteriorating, yet one didn’t complain.

It all started to make sense now, as I’m getting closer to their age having a small grandson of my own. I’ve been lucky, as my kids like to be around me. We laugh a lot, but I started to worry about this adorable little love of my life. How will he deal with me in 10 years, how am I going to be sure he wants to visit me rather than being forced to?

My Plan for Getting Older

I Will Stay as Healthy and Active as I Can, for as Long as I Can

I will not complain about problems to my kids or grandchildren about getting older or my aches and pains.

That might be difficult, but if I need help, then they will know, otherwise, no. I always want to look nice, smile and laugh with them. I feel it’s my duty as a grandparent to tell him stories about his father and his uncle when they were young. Stories about when I was young, and what my life has been like. Things that someday, he’ll look back and know where his craziness comes from.

Big Problems Will be Handled

If I need a walker or wheelchair, you can bet it will be spray painted a diva color, bright and fun. It will be set up with my phone and maybe my iPad. I promised myself, I will go out in public and enjoy myself even when I don’t feel like it. I’ll do it for that grandchild’s sake. I want to know how his little life is going.

I Will not Be Grumpy and Dull

I’ll wear those bright colors, and my house will be bright and clutter free. I plan to give my kids my collectibles or give them away if they don’t want them – no problem! Life is too short to be cleaning those things.

I Will Share My Stories With My Grandson

I want to take walks with my grandson. He used to be pushed in a stroller or pulled in a wagon, so he’ll just pay me back. Think of the stories we can share!

I just don’t want anyone to look at me and say, she looks so sad, grouchy or unhappy. She must hate being old. I’d rather be old and see the smile on faces of my loved ones, or hear their voices, than the alternative.

What do you all think? Do you think I’m nuts? Can change the way older people are viewed?

We are so much more aware and active as we age now, than previous generations. If you’re reading this, then you can work on a computer, and I bet you have a cell phone, maybe even a smartphone. Keep up with new technology, and it will keep us connected to our loved ones and the rest of the world.

What is your plan for getting older? Have you even thought about it? Let’s help each other – please join the conversation in the comments below.

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