A 94-Year-Old's Take on Making Good Decisions
I’ll admit it: I’ve spent too much money, I’ve said things I regret, and I’ve made bad choices. To be fair, I’m sure everyone’s guilty of some bad choices, but it made me wonder — who am I to be giving advice on how to make good ones? So I decided to go out and get some advice from someone with a lot more life experience — my grandmother, who at 94 is as independent, effervescent, and opinionated as ever. I knew she’d have some ideas for me, but boy was I surprised by her perspective. Here are some of her thoughts on making decisions. (See also: 7 Frugal Lessons From Great-Grandmother)
Be Grateful That You Have Choice
It’s natural to dread having to make a tough choice — I know I often do. But what if you thought of that choice as a privilege? My grandmother grew up at a time in which women just weren’t given much say; she was raised to listen to her parents and then later, all the big decisions went to her husband. Now that she’s all on her own, she relishes doing what she wants, even at the cost of sometimes making choices she regrets. So next time you’re struggling with a decision, remember that you’re actually indulging in a luxury that has not always been available to everyone — and that in some parts of the world still isn’t.
Do the Best You Can
How can you ever know if you’re making the right decision in a given situation? The answer is, you don’t. My grandmothers says all you can do is your best, because what often determines the turnout is unknown. She also told me she thinks life is a gift. I take that to mean you have to learn to love it, even when it doesn’t always turn out the way you had hoped.
Do What You Want
As an active and able 94-year-old, my grandmother relishes being able to do whatever she wants. Maybe some of that’s a luxury of old age, but she’s also learned that you just can’t make everyone happy, so it’s best not to try. Going with the flow can often be a way of taking the easy way out. Make the decisions that are right for you.
Try to Be Deliberate
When it comes to shopping, my grandmother admits that she sometimes has a hard time saying “no” to something she wants. As someone who grew up and lived most of her life with very little more than the basics, I think she’s probably the only one who sees her purchases as indulgences. Still, she says it’s important to learn to think hard about what you want. Not so much so that you can make the right choice, but so that you can make ones that you won’t regret.
Take Advice From Other People
My grandmother has more friends and family than anyone I know, and she often turns to other people for their opinions and advice. She’s not afraid to say she doesn’t have the answers, or to seek out someone who can help, whether it’s with filing her taxes or fixing her dryer. If you’re struggling to make a decision, remember that you don’t have to go it alone. Reach out to those around you for both help and support.
I can’t say I’m a pro at decision-making, but my grandmother was quick to say that despite having more experience, she doesn’t have the answers. But through all the decisions she has made — both good and bad — my grandmother is still as hopeful and spirited as ever. And that’s a choice too.