I have great respect for young people of today. I find they are quite different to, I think, the way I was at their age. I find them to be welcoming and inclusive of me – which means that they are generationally inclusive.
Before Covid, I travelled extensively and alone in third world countries. Mostly people of my age were partnered or accompanied and would politely acknowledge me as I made a bid for conversation.
The young travellers though were almost unfailingly responsive. Time after time I was invited to join them, whether for dinner or to travel on together.
Now stuck close to home base, I try to remember such warmth and give young people and myself the opportunity to converse and interact. Such inter-generational contact enriches our lives.
As we age it can be easy to let our world contract. If you have grandchildren, you might feel you have this base covered, but I think there is yet more to be gained by moving outside of your own family.
On a recent weekend trip to the beach, I had two young women place their towels in the best spot just before I could claim the sunny sheltered position. I felt a swell of irritation but managed to let it ebb.
When I laughingly said to the girls that they had beaten me to it they immediately offered to move over and make space for me. How kind and inclusive.
Rather than hanging out with retirement or age similar folk, let’s keep being actively inclusive of younger people so that they can be inclusive of us in return.
I admit I did have to remind myself not to give advice (sage advice I might add) to my beach babes as they shared their stories.
If you are interested in this topic and can see how it might be valuable for you to connect more with differently aged people, there is more information, tips and things to consider in my book.
Judy Rafferty is the author of Retirement Your Way, A Practical Guide to Knowing What You Want and How to Get It. Available at all good bookshops and online.