friends family young people

The Hang Out: Why I Love Being Around Friends and Family

In my family, we have always had an unwritten code we pass around: to smile.  After many years, and a lot of smiling, even through some challenging moments, we believe that what’s on the outside can influence the inside, and one’s smile can spread a very happy, good feeling throughout.  Based on the popularity of the smile emoji, the great Charlie Chaplin’s song, “Smile Though Your Heart is Breaking” and all the numerous catchy phrases written about smiling, there must be something to it.

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Personally, this could be a throw back to my first days running my own business when the weekends would roll around and my coffee shop was it’s busiest.  I would run, not even walk hurriedly, around like a madwoman.  No one wants to be seen as a madwoman, much less be in the company of one.  Thankfully, family and certain close friends were brutally honest, and I was only momentarily hurt when they told me how absolutely nuts I looked, and how anti-calming it is to be in the atmosphere of someone that looks so crazed and pressured.  I even had a friend who would come in on those busiest days, to take coffee to go.  She would put thumb and forefinger in a V shape under her mouth and mimic the motion of upward smile.  This became my personal prompt to smile.

It is very similar with older people.  Our stage, in some ways can be liberating because the rat race is mitigated, but, there may be more worries about finances, our health or children and how they are faring. There are also the frequency of aches and pains.  When our body hurts, it is more challenging to smile through it.  But we must.  No one likes to be around miserable people and this is one revolt we want to stage, not to be miserable!  Now that longevity is solved, we want older people, our generation, to be included and taken into account.

Even when criticism is rough and stings, we have to pay attention, evaluate, plot a plan of action and often, even change.  It is the same lesson as we age.  Become a social observer, learn and when it fits, imitate.  Our objective when getting older is to sparkle a positive vibe in the company of others.  This will help avoid the crankiness both in our spirit and in our bones.  No one likes a downer. People, as a general rule, like to be around pleasant, cheery people.  Even though I do not know everyone of you, readers, I do know this, you need to smile more, stand erect and look strong, exude joy, be more positive and stop complaining all the time! (Only infrequently to your one bestie.)

Now that you radiate sunniness, you must hang around young people as much as possible.  It can be grandchildren, your own children, especially those in their 20’s, those starting new jobs and people on the ground floor of innovative businesses.  College age children, or those in graduate programs are the best and tell them to invite their friends.  Be generous, order in the pizza, young people are always hungry.  If you work around younger people, listen and give positive feedback.  The conversations are stimulating and exciting and they may even ask your advice or be interested in some of your experience.  Don’t give too much advice, talk too much and for sure, DON’T OVERDO IT.  If you keep it short, listen and give positive feedback, they may actually come back sometime and you will have a wonderful time again.  In this type of amiable and friendly atmosphere you can now delicately broach those most interesting topics we stayed away from in the past because they were so divisive, like politics or religion. Young people are optimistic, idealistic and still think that they will change the world, and they may.  I hope so.

Recap:

  1.  Plaster on a permanent smile.
  2.  Criticism is forbidden but pay attention to criticism directed at you.
  3.  Become a social observer and learn to read the innuendos where you can improve yourself and your relationships.
  4.  Implement the changes and be disciplined about it.
  5.  Be generous.
  6.  Hang around young people.

I loved working around young people, it kept me on my toes, I was more alert and fit and I love to be generous.  It’s good for the soul!

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