GratiTuesday Guest Post: Gratitude for the Young Ones

GratiTuesday guest post by Lynn, An Encore Voyage

Recently I wrote a blog post about retiring without having had children.  It’s rather easy these days to speak disparagingly of many of today’s young people.  There are those who seem unable to string two sentences together without benefit of fishing line…

But in keeping with Janis’s GratiTuesday theme, I’d like to share with you my

Gratitude for the Young Ones

Just recently, I had the opportunity to travel to Seattle to witness the thesis defense and presentation of a doctoral degree to my dear friend’s son.  From the time he was born, I have watched this young man develop into an extraordinarily gifted shining star.  Now, he and the brilliant young minds he works with are engaged in world-altering research.  They are the ones who are curing AIDS, cancers, and illnesses which have plagued the world for our lifetimes.  Such accomplishment in one so young!

I can remember getting a bit freaked out when I first went to a doctor who was younger than I was.  How could he possibly be old enough to have completed medical school?  Then, as my doc used his iPad to flip through my medical records, and swiftly and easily breeze through the technology to show me the most recent of treatment options, I realized I really don’t want to go to a doctor who still uses a flip phone!

For the past two seasons, hubs and I have been enjoying the Broadway productions that come to our city.  We recently dined with a gifted young woman who is just beginning her career in the theatre industry.  Her passion and enthusiasm for her craft made something abundantly clear…It isn’t us crusty retirees who are bringing these beautiful productions to life.  It is daring, talented young people who are bravely and energetically sharing themselves through Broadway, Shakespeare, Contemporary Theatre, music, and dance.  I am grateful to them for creating magical opportunities for all our benefit!

So, here’s to the Millennials and Gen Z-ers who will be such a changing force in this world.  While many may poke fun at your man-buns and essential oils, I am grateful for your many contributions that will alter the landscape of this country!

And now, I’m headed off to my dentist.  He’s a brilliant Millennial – He’ll be using a laser to fix my cavities!

From Janis:

Thank you, Lynn, for sharing your GratiTuesday guest post with us! Thank you for your reminder of the positive contributions the younger generations are already making to our world.

For those of you who haven’t yet discovered Lynn’s blog, please check it out. Follow her journey after she and her husband gave up their lifelong careers and reinvented their lifestyle.

I will be back with my own GratiTuesday post which I’m pretty sure will include my profound gratitude for all my guest posters.

Author: RetirementallyChallenged.com

My blog is about travel, relationships, photography, and whatever else pops into my head (even, sometimes, issues surrounding retirement and aging).

62 thoughts on “GratiTuesday Guest Post: Gratitude for the Young Ones”

  1. It is interesting how we have all become categorized based upon the year we were born and, therefore, generalizations made about each category. Applause to your friend’s talented son pursuing higher education and research. Thanks for the reminder that there is so much to be grateful for each and every day.

    1. Thanks, Judy! There really are many young people doing such vibrant things! Part of my problem is that everyone seems so young these days. I think it helps me keep a positive attitude when I look at all their accomplishments with wonder! ~ Lynn

    2. I never understood why whole generations were being grouped together under one banner designating specific characteristics. Each generation is certainly shaped by the history and technology that occurred during their formative years but I can’t imagine everyone reacted the same. I much prefer looking at people as individuals and not generational blobs.

  2. About the only thing I miss from my old job is working with smart, talented, funny, kind and hard-working millennials!

    1. Well, well, well, Donna! Looks like I’ve met a new friend! I LIKE YOUR STYLE! I’ve been over to check out your site, and it’s clear to me that I need to do much more investigation! Badass awesomeness! That’s what I just found! ~ Lynn

  3. Great perspective! I often feel like the managers, CEOs, doctors, lawyers, etc are ’12’ and too young – but then I remember when I was that age and the enthusiasm and curiosity with which I approached life. I’m happy to pass on the task of ‘saving the world’ to the younger folk.

    1. Isn’t that so true! I look at some of these “kids” and then think, “Wait…everyone is a ‘kid’ to me!” And then I think of all of the things they’ve accomplished just in the last 10 or 15 years, and I believe that if I try to learn what they know, maybe I’ll never grow old! ~ Lynn

  4. I hate it when people disparage young people just cause they are young. There are bad apples in every barrel of course, but mostly I find the ones I know to be bright, charming and enthusiastic. And they tolerate, seemingly gladly, an oldie like me, so what’s not to love!?

    1. Sometimes I wonder if it’s our jealousy of their youth that makes some of us look down on the generations that come after us. I admit to making fun of all the selfie taking but maybe it’s because they look so much better in their selfies than I do in mine 😄

  5. I totally agree. I love all the Millennial “kids” who I come in contact with. They’re bright and engaging and make me feel like the future is in good hands. I hear many of peers, however, badmouthing Millennials– and for the life of me I don’t know why.

    1. Ally, I think if we appreciate these young people for what they can teach us, it keeps us fresh. If we just grumble, however (like some of our peers), we’ll just turn into old curmudgeons! I choose fresh! ~ Lynn

    2. I bet that they were pretty upset when their (our) whole generation was dismissed as drugged-out hippies. I don’t know about you but that didn’t describe me (“hippy” may be a better description of me today but that’s a whole different story).

  6. Great to have a positive take on today’s young people, Lynn. Complaints about younger generations have been made since the time of Socrates. Any time the grousing can be contained and turned into gratitude is well appreciated.

    1. I agree, Karen. With all things! I have friends who wouldn’t be happy if they were hung with a new rope! Always complaining about this and that…too many people…to much traffic, blah, blah, blah! Isn’t it so much better to just take a deep breath and be grateful? ~ Lynn

  7. Hi Lynn! So why haven’t I read and found your blog yet? Thanks to Janis for the introduction–I think you and I probably share a lot in common–most especially being childfree by choice. But I completely agree with the sentiment in this post about appreciating young people and recognizing their accomplishments. Probably the only (slight) regret I have about being childfree is the “adult” relationship that some parents have with certain (wonderful) adult children. Of course there is no guarantee of that (evidenced by several of my friends and family members) but when I’m around certain young people I get the same charge as you expressed with your friend’s son. Fortunately I have been making a strong effort to befriend similar young women in my community and I’m finding how rewarding that can be. It’s nice to support and encourage those who are creating a wonderful future for themselves and the world. ~Kathy

    1. Hi, Kathy! I sure know YOU! I’m honored that you checked out my post! Hubs and I operate on what we call “the rent a kid plan!” We have many young people in our lives (including the young scientist), who we have “adopted.” I’ve told many of my “children by other parents” that if I would have chosen to have children, I would have wished for them to grow up to be so accomplished. Over the years we have developed close friendships with many “adopted” sons and daughters. I know it’s not the same as a relationship with a real life son or daughter, but the good news is we get to choose to befriend really amazing young people! Thanks for your comment! ~ Lynn

    2. Hi Kathy! You and I have very similar feelings about being child free. I love that you are establishing a friendship with a young woman… I bet that you both get a lot out of your interactions. I’m glad that you have discovered Lynn’s blog through her guest post!

    1. Hi Jackie! I have a couple of nieces and nephews as well! They’re awesome young people starting fulfilling and challenging careers! It’s also kind of fun watching THEM have children! ~ Lynn

  8. I believe we can always learn not only from those older than us but also from the young. Surrounding ourselves with younger people, helps us to stay mentally and physically active. Like every generation there are the few that seem to define the whole and give them a bad reputation. I am continually learning from my daughter and son and others in their generation. They are determined, independent and want to make a difference – exactly the qualities that we taught them and now see what wonderful adults they have become. It makes me feel proud. Thanks for another take on being grateful – we always have something to be grateful for, don’t we? Have a beautiful day, Lynn and Janis. xx

    1. Thanks, Sue! I’ll bet you are so very proud watching your children become accomplished successful adults! See, there are lots of them out there, changing the world with energy and enthusiasm. It’s fun to watch and join in wherever possible! ~ Lynn

    2. Not having children, I can only imagine the feelings of pride, gratitude, and maybe a bit of relief (because we really never know, right?) when they become accomplished and independent adults. I would like to send a bit of gratitude your way too for raising great kids and sending them out into the world to do amazing things… we need more of that!

  9. What a wonderful and positive look at Millennials. I have to admit to thinking quite negatively about this generation of “being spoiled and feeling entitled” young ones, until I read your post. You are right that our future is in their hands. I loved reading about the enthusiasm and professionalism factor in your accounts! Just today, I learned that Mark’s niece had a “fabulous” presentation of her dissertation, having created a way/program to teach people how to detect autism in children. We are so proud of her!

    1. Oh Liesbet, you made my heart do a little flip of happiness! As a retired special education teacher, I get really jazzed about people who are doing autism research with compassion and heart! LOVE IT! You should be so very proud! ~ Lynn

    2. The papers are full of negative stories about the younger generations. Unfortunately it seems that positive news doesn’t sell (I’m not sure I believe that completely) and it’s easier to write stories about the bad rather than the good. Mark’s niece is doing amazing things and there are many, many more out there who are lighting the world on fire (in a good way 🙂).

  10. I agree with your positive take on the Millennials, Lynn. I enjoy interacting with the young people I know. Thanks, Janis, for featuring Lynn here.

  11. I’ve never thought of Millennials in this positive ight because it seems to me that the news is full of how great this generation is, and so dissimilar to other generations they are, making the rest of us seem like “chopped liver” (as that expression goes). It made this Baby Boomer start to resent them to be honest with you. But you took a refreshing look at them and their tech savviness, so perhaps I need to give them another chance.

    1. Oh, I certainly hear you, Linda. And I will admit, that there are those who feel entitled – the news if full of rich millennials who got that way with no apparent marketable skills. But then I started looking specifically for the ones who are doing amazing, refreshing, creative, bold and exciting things! Their new visions will change the world…just like we boomers did before them. But I believe it will all be for the better in the end! ~ Lynn

      1. I am sure you are correct Lynn. I feel like I am old fogey sometimes in my thinking. They are visionaries and will improve our world beyond what we can comprehend today.

    2. I think there is a mix of good and bad in every generation (hopefully way more good than bad) but often it’s the bad that gets the press. You make a great point though about the “specialness” of the Millennials – each generation stands on the shoulders of the past generations. They wouldn’t be doing the things they are doing without us. Steve Jobs was, and Bill Gates is, a Baby Boomer, after all.

      1. That’s true Janis and thinking about Steve Jobs and Bill Gates, I am sure that young adults today never give a thought to life before computers and probably many never heard of Messrs. Jobs and Gates and think it is just Mark Zuckerberg who is the head honcho when it comes to computer tech. Cellphones as well. I can remember the first cellphone I saw – an attorney in the office who was on the go all the time and golfed every Wednesday bought one. It was in a huge suitcase and he opened it up and we oohed and aahed over it. We clustered around it like people might have surrounded Alexander Graham Bell when he tried out the telephone the first time. I guess I think of how we would not even visualize such inventions like computers and cellphones back in the day either. We’ve come a long way!

  12. Wow, thank you Lynn
    I admit I’ve been a bit worried about the future. Thank you for opening my eyes to this wonderous generation. I will look at them much differently now.
    Laura

    1. Hi Laura, I’m glad to have met you through Janis. I admit that I have worried as well, and probably about the same things you have. But then I started looking specifically for brilliant young people. They’re out there – and we can learn lots of cool stuff from them! It keeps us young! ~ Lynn

    2. I am also worried, Laura. I really hope today’s young people are uniquely qualified to fix a few things we’ve messed up. I am heartened that they do seem to be more embracing of diversity and the rights of everyone, not just the privileged few.

  13. I enjoyed this post! I retired two years ago this month from working in a university, where when I first took the position the Millennials were infants! Before I moved on they were 18-22 and I began to work closely with them. They think differently than I do (they should…our experiences are vastly different) and I had to be open to appreciating how they uniquely respond to challenge and stress. But I grew to really appreciate the strengths they are bringing to a troubled world. I actually have a lot of faith in them as a strong cohort. Strength is definitely defined with different terms, but I think that may be good!

    1. Debra, that is a beautiful perspective! Millennials DO think differently and have entirely different strengths than so many of us are used to! I believe you said it better than I! These young people are bringing their strengths to a troubled world, and while different, needs to be appreciated just the same! Thanks for your insightful comment! ~ Lynn

  14. Thanks to you both for this post—so wonderfully generous in your appreciation of a younger generation! I’m with you. We have many things to love, and little to fear about these young people!

  15. I agree, the younger generations have much to offer, and always will. Personally, I think older generations also have something to offer, and the ideal situation is when we all appreciate the gifts of those who are both younger and older than we are. And naturally, each generation is made up of individuals, who do not think and act the same way. Which is actually a good thing, I think!

    1. Ann, you expressed what I feel perfectly! Just as it isn’t right to pigeonhole the younger generations, we older folks don’t deserve the same fate. We can all learn from each other, and it’s in everyone’s best interest to ensure the world is in good hands going forward.

  16. Lynn, this so resonated with me! As we age, we forget that there are a lot more people younger than us, so of course they are going to have their expertise. I work with Millennials very day (college students) and love the interaction and zest for life they seem to have (as many of us do)! Generational studies can predict characteristics and preferences, but each person is an individual with values and strengths. I personally appreciate each generation’s characteristics as a whole because each one brings that unique perspective to work, school, leisure, etc.

    1. I think it’s great that your job brings you in close contact with young adults, Terri. It’s when we isolate ourselves from others (by age, race, socioeconomics, etc.) that we often are no longer are able to accept and appreciate our differences, similarities, and strengths.

  17. Thank you Lynn for your positive outlook. I am grateful that I have friends from all generations. There’s something to be said for the confidence and wisdom of midlife and beyond and for the energy and enthusiasm of youth.

    Welcome back Janis. I look forward to your next post. I’ve loved getting to know your guest hosts, but it will be nice to have you writing again.

  18. As a member of the big demographic bulge that is the baby boomers, I have observed that we are used to shaping society and so it can feel a little disconcerting watching a new generation (the millennials) now taking over. I often listen to CBC radio (our Canadian national radio station) and in recent years the radio hosts and themes have shifted from being dominated by baby boomers to millennials. Although it is hard to let go of control, it is also wonderfully refreshing to see this generation’s take on things. I used to despair about the state of the world that we have left for our children and grandchildren, but now feel hope and gratitude as I see the ideals and capabilities of this young demographic.

    Jude

    1. That is a great observation, Jude! We are/were used to being the focus, for good or bad, and now we might feel a bit like “has-beens.”. I sure hope that they are up to the task of putting things right. I certainly don’t blame all the ills of society on us boomers, but lately, it seems that the bad has found a strong and worrisome voice.

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