I remember a few years ago being at our local grocery supermarket. As I was coming out I noticed an elderly lady trying to get her bags into her car. So I went over and said, “Can I help you young lady..?”
“That’s very kind of you young man (!!). That’s the nicest thing that’s happened to me all day, all week in fact.”
To be honest, I hadn’t given it much thought, as it just seemed the obvious thing to do. Yet as I reflect on that now (because I’m older I guess), I realize that bringing just a little bit of sunshine into that lady’s day was indeed something to make us both happy. But then I wondered if in fact it was more than that. I began to think that this lady felt that she had been appreciated enough for some stranger to lend a helping hand.
I got to thinking a little bit more about this and soon realized that the word “appreciation” is as much a key word for the retirement years as is “happiness.”
Happiness is really a very internal, or personal, recognition of your state of mind, whereas Appreciation is an external expression of gratitude given TO you by others. That endorsement is tremendously satisfying and comforting.
We don’t want to be treated special as retirees. Oh yes, the seniors discount stuff is nice and probably very welcome to many, but the real joy comes from being listened to, or being asked to give our thoughts, even our advice, to be seen as someone who gets respect, NOT because we’re old, but because we can provide meaningful assistance to our youngers.
How many times in your latter years have you had the situation when a younger member of the family rushes up to you and asks a rhetorical question such as “How would you feel if your boss had said things to you which embarrassed you..?” You volunteer an answer anyway. Needless to say it is ignored before it even hits the youngsters ears!!!
Days go by and nothing more seems to be said about the drama. So, you casually ask how things turned out and you get the offhand response that “Oh, he realized he was wrong and has treated me great ever since.” End of discussion. A non-event it would seem. The fact that it was earth-shattering a few days ago plus the fact that you said “I’m sure he’ll realize he spoke in haste” carries absolutely no weight. A simple, “You were right” might be nice, but it won’t come, so relax.
So, perhaps the best we can get in terms of appreciation is not so much the verbal “Thanks”, but the inner feeling that we were right and that somehow our comments were digested and even though an acknowledgement is elusive, nonetheless we suspect that a mild degree of penetration did sink in, and maybe even calm the situation. Who knows.
Therefore, happiness may come in the spoken word, or the unspoken gesture, or the self-belief that our words did help.
Ask yourself this question:-
“Do I like Appreciation ; do I crave it ; or am I ok with just knowing that I was useful.…?
Next week we’ll continue to explore more of the positive ways you can change your life and find deep, sustainable HAPPINESS in a variety of everyday things in your life …. right now.
We hope you’ll join us.
Try this :
Place your cursor on this line …
UnHappy ———————————————————————————— Happy
Click to freeze it in the spot you choose on the “Happy Line”
“May you have Happiness all your Life”.
The Olderhood Team.