For many of us, especially the “grandparent” class, this was another tense, anxious year. We were still mostly locked inside, waiting for a sign that it’s finally okay to go out and safely enjoy whatever life offers. Because I spend a lot of time talking to people my age or at least in their fifties or beyond, most of us had a similar year.

The other night I commented, casually, to Kaitlin that I hoped next year would be better. She looked startled.

“I had a great year,” she said. That jarred me awake because I had somehow assumed it was the same for everyone. But that isn’t true. It may have been risky for the young, but not the way it was for us.

I suddenly realized we didn’t all have the same year. For Kaitlin and her generation, it was an exciting year with promise for the future. She finished school, found work, found a boyfriend. For the first time, she has the beginning of a fresh new life.

For her — maybe for everyone who is reasonably healthy, young, vaccinated, and busy — it was a year of opportunity. For the first time since I was in my 20s, there are more jobs available than people looking for jobs.

That’s how it was when I was starting out. It made the process of getting a job and advancing in it a whole lot easier. It’s an exciting time to be alive when the world seems to be waiting for you.

We didn’t all have the same year.

We had an “old folks” year. Dealing with age and sometimes fragile health, we were dealing with survival, COVID, and the state of our government and the rest of the world, and the planet.

We are not looking toward a future with opportunities. Those of us with money may still travel, but many of us won’t. Aside from health issues, the quality of airlines and the high discomfort factor of having to sit in a narrow chair with no foot space or even a snack makes a long distance vacations into the kind of adventure we can live without. I didn’t like airports or airlines five years ago, but now the idea of being locked in the cabin full of people who probably don’t have COVID, but for all I know are coming down with the flu or a serious cold is not appealing. I used to get sick on airplanes when I traveled and I was much younger. I have been told they have done some serious cleaning on airplanes. Despite that, all it takes is one coughing sneezing person to spread germs to every susceptible person on the craft, usually me.

Kaitlin isn’t worried about it. She can handle a cold, has all the other vaccinations including flu. For her, life is the beginning of an adventure while we are in an entirely different head space.

What a difference 50 years makes!

Categories: Anecdote, Life, Relationships, Travel, Vaccination

Tags: , , , , ,

9 replies

  1. Two of our Grands–Celia (24) and Gage (22) stopped by Christmas day. They told us not to worry so much about COVID. They too have had all their preventive shots and were in high spirits about the holiday and the futture for us all. Good thing these positive, responsible young adults are watching out for us all! CHEERS!


    • It was such a surprising response and it made me realize that we had our own year, but she had an entirely different year. It is a good thing that at least the young are still feeling positive about the world! It made me feel better.


  2. Yes, that’s true. I fall somewhere in the upper end of this spectrum and I felt that my year was good too. Not very exciting, but not bad either.


    • It wasn’t a GREAT year, but it wasn’t as bad as 2020, probably because early in the year we were all vaccinated and it gave us some sense of safety and the ability to go out sometimes without worrying about what might be in the air. I think what is still worrying me and won’t stop is that we aren’t fixing all the broken things in our world. None of the “big” nations are and if we don’t, it’s going to get very ugly. I keep hoping someone will take the lead and others will follow. So far, it’s just a hope — but we live on hope.

      Liked by 2 people

      • What does surprise me is that many developed countries are way worse than a small country like mine. Over here we are mostly vaccinated, and very few people are getting sick. I personally have had two original shots and then two of Pfizer as well. When ever I go out, it’s with a mask.


  3. We also had a conversation yesterday about the things we never thought we would say — things that all people over about 60 say!


    • It was a funny moment for me, the realization of what a generational difference REALLY means. It’s how you look at life and the future. At 26, life is the future. At our age, staying alive and being able to walk on our own legs is a big deal. I suppose if I miss anything about being young, it’s resilience.

      At our age, we do NOT bounce back! We just crunch down then need two people to hoist us back on our feet. But hey, we ARE here.

      Liked by 1 person

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