Older Than Dirt: Take My Advice. Anyone?
Once your children are raised, you have retired from the work force, and have lived through at least one war, your brain is filled with knowledge. Not only the important stuff, but the everyday things that you have learned along the way. You really want to think that after you are gone, your wisdom just might be one of the many things you are remembered for.
Even though you now have advice to give on just about everything, no one really wants to hear it. They may ask, "What do you think?" But in reality, they don't really give a rat's behind (as Judge Judy would say). Asking your opinion about anything is actually just a courtesy given to old people.
When you offer a bit of advice to the young grocery store clerk, she will just smile and ignore you. Now that you are old, they expect this sort of behavior. You may notice that once she has stopped smiling, she may even roll her eyes at the employee who is standing closest to her.
Sometimes it is difficult to keep your advice/opinion to yourself. Especially when your closest friend (sister) has spent most of her life giving advice to everyone. She always knows best, whether it is parenting, cooking, or how to do car repairs!
How she became an expert on this stuff, no one knows. She will often give advice to three of her grown granddaughters in a single day, even though she knows they will hang up the phone and do whatever it was they planned to do in the first place. But still she continues to try to fix everyone's life.
Recently, we talked about a pot luck at my brother's house. Not only did she plan what each person should bring, but she also tried to tell them how they should cook the food!
People have been asking for advice for as long as I can remember. My mother was a faithful reader of Dear Abby, and also her twin sister Ann Landers. She so valued their advice that she ordered the paperback book called "Growing Up and Liking It." This book was for mothers too shy or embarrassed to discuss sex with their daughters. Dear Abby was certainly considered to be an expert on the subject. Come to think of it, I don't know how she became an expert, either.
Sometimes my own grown children will call me up for some advice. I choose my words very carefully on those occasions. When you are a mother-in-law, it could come back to bite you! My own mother gave me good advice on this. "If you want to keep your children close once they are married, you had better be a good mother-in-law. Sometimes that means just knowing when to keep your mouth shut!"
I think I got a lot of good advice from family members when I was growing up. However, I recall that none of them seemed to agree on what was the RIGHT thing to do on most occasions. We thought Grandma was too far behind the times, but let her have her say anyway. (There is that thing about old people giving advice again.) And my older brothers were so preoccupied with their own life decisions, they just told us NOT to do it, no matter what it was!
Books have been written on just about every kind of advice you might need. They have books on relationships, raising children, surviving a divorce, buying a house, etc. As well as the HOW TO books on everything from breast feeding to shopping for an umbrella. Do we really need that much advice?
Most young people are certain that Grandma couldn't possibly know about life, so how would she know about relationships? As they see it, Grandma has always been old! How could she possibly know anything about boys, clothes, school and stuff like that? Grandma probably can't even text!
So they listen, smile and ask one of their friends. Their friends would most certainly have the RIGHT answers!
No one really wants to "learn the hard way" as they say. But did we listen to the advice WE asked for? Nope. Not usually. Instead, we trod along trying to figure things out on our own. By the time we are seniors and expect that we have more years behind than in front of us, we have indeed learned many things "the hard way." We may not know what works best, but we have certainly learned what doesn't!
Recently on the news, they showcased a woman who was celebrating her 100th birthday. She was asked if she had any ADVICE for others about living a long life. She had only two words to share. "Keep breathing!" Now that's some good advice.
I think that having people ask for advice is a compliment to years of learning and decision-making. It makes you feel good that your family or friends really do value your wisdom. It doesn't matter so much if they only ask as a courtesy because we're old. Or even if they do whatever it was they intended to do in the first place.
It is always nice to be asked.