The word “grandparent” evokes a lot of images – mostly of old people sitting in rocking chairs, reading or knitting. But ask yourself this: are you really ready for the rocking chair? At 40, 50, 60, or even 70? We’re not.
We’re Grannies on the Run – Brenda and Debbie, two forty-something mothers and now, quite happily, grandmothers. We’re two life-long friends who have witness each other’s triumphs and shared in each other’s sorrows for over thirty years. The paths that brought each of us individually to this point in our lives may have taken us in different directions over the years, but as we stand at the threshold of midlife with our fiftieth birthdays looming in the not-too-distant future, we find ourselves entering this new phase of life together with many things in common.
The fact that we’re both new grandparents gives us just one more life experience to share. But we’ve also found another remarkable thing about becoming grandparents: it’s given us the opportunity to reflect on where we are at midlife and what we want to do – who we want to be – moving forward into the future; for ourselves, our families and our community.
You’ve heard the phrase, “growing older.” We like to emphasize the “growing” part of that expression, rather than the “older” part. Growing older doesn’t have to mean that our learning process ends. It doesn’t have to mean that we slow down. It doesn’t have to mean that our contributions to society come to an end. And it definitely doesn’t have to mean that we relegate ourselves to the rocking chair or the recliner, destined to spend the next twenty or thirty or even forty years with the remote in hand, watching, “Wheel of Fortune.”
All of us – whether we’re parents, grandparents, baby-boomers, or from any other generation – have the capacity to do and to be so much more than we give ourselves credit for. As parents or grandparents approaching midlife, most of us have raised families, settled into careers, and maybe even paid off the mortgage (if we’re lucky). The kids are grown and embarking on their own lives, and some of us find ourselves with a little more time on our hands. Some of us have even heard that little voice in the back of our heads asking us, “now what?”
That little question – “now what?” – should spur you to action. Why? Because you can. That’s the only reason you need.
Of course, you may have other reasons that motivate you. Maybe you want to be fitter or healthier. Maybe you want to learn to play the guitar. Maybe you want to run for Congress. Maybe you want to write a book or run a marathon. It doesn’t matter. Whatever it is that excites you and gets you feeling like you can’t wait to do it, you should be doing it. It doesn’t even matter whether or not you’re any good at it; in fact, anytime you try something new, you’ll probably be lousy at it at first. But that’s okay, because it’s all part of the learning process. It’s all part of the process of growing, and that’s what we’re here to encourage you to do.
Part of what we’re all about involves giving back. One of the advantages of growing older is that it gives us a little perspective and some appreciation of the people, organizations, and community programs that have made it possible over the years for us to succeed in various areas of our lives. One thing you will notice about us is our desire and commitment to contribute to organizations that promote health, fitness and well-being for people of all ages. As time goes by, we’ll keep you updated on these efforts.
You’ll also notice that we talk a lot about running. We love running. Did we always love running? No. Are we any good at it? Well, that might depend upon which one of us you ask and what kind of day we’re having. But none of that really matters. What matters is that we’ve taken, and continue to take, chances on new things. We step outside our comfort zones, put ourselves out there to stumble and fall (sometimes literally!), continue pushing forward, and hopefully grow in our skill and ability. The self-satisfaction and sense of accomplishment that come from achieving a new goal are indescribable. Small successes lead to newer and sometimes bigger successes, and pretty soon you feel as though you can do anything.
And the truth of the matter is this: you can do anything. We want you to feel the same sense of excitement and joy that we do. We want to encourage you to try new things, and to live healthier, happier lives – not only for yourselves, but for your children and grandchildren, too. Growing older is a gift; not everyone lives long enough to realize the opportunities that aging can bring. Our hope is that we can help provide you with the confidence to achieve greatness – whatever that means to you – during what can truly be the most exciting and rewarding phase of your life.