grey space

Published on August 3rd, 2015


Of personal and familial pursuits

A senior citizen writes about cracking life’s code – enriching one’s life in the golden years by self-help and empathy.
by Vanita Kumta

Life goes around in circles. As human beings we are a part of a greater society and we all need the help of one another – more so in a family. Having completed most of our responsibilities in life and reached our retirement, often there is a clash of ideas about whether lending a helping hand with the rearing of one’s grandchildren is worthwhile or whether we should call it a day and just enjoy our golden years.

When any work that we do is not taken for granted and it is appreciated, it is a pleasant feeling. Especially nurturing one’s grandchildren. It is in these golden years as our own birds leave the nests soaring high in their respective careers and with families of their own that the empty nest syndrome brings loneliness and depression in its wake. The seniors can find a lot of love and solace when they bond with their grandchildren. It reminds us of our own youth and our children and also our elders.

These reminiscences are full of mixed feelings of joy and pain. But that, in essence, is life.

My husband and I are an old couple, currently retired from our active phase of life. We were part of a joint family till about two years back and have, of our own accord, insisted that our son, daughter-in-law and grandchild live their lives separately away from us. We took this decision to avoid stepping on one another’s toes and to give space in our relationships. Nevertheless, we try to be active supports, especially in taking care of our little granddaughter.

In hindsight, we feel that this decision has brought back a healthy bonding between us. We have our own space after leading a full life and we treasure it. The young fledgling family, too, becomes more responsible and realises the value of time, money and work. They become more responsible, independent and innovative in the bargain. All in all it is heady mixture of freedom for all without the encumbrance of strictures.

Most people do not adapt to changing times and try to hold on to meaningless strings. This makes us lose out on a lot in life. The waters of life keep flowing regardless of obstacles. If we adapt to our new roles, try to stay aloof at times and yet be of service to one another, it makes the world a much better place to live in. Having said this, I cannot deny that there is turmoil. But the entire exercise is one of patience, and never trying to exploit one another.

May be we too will need a finger to hold on to, so why not offer a helping hand without expecting too much in return? I think that leading an active life that enriches us as individuals and the lives of others helps us physically, emotionally and may be financially.

Since April this year, we have stepped back a little from our babysitter duties as our granddaughter is now quite grown up. It is time that her young family becomes self-sufficient and that we relax a wee bit and see them grow. I do not wish for us to become a burden on anyone, so we also make some time for exercise, too.

I think I have cracked the code to a happy life. Have you?

Grey Space’ is a weekly column on senior citizen issues. If you have an anecdote, or legal information, or anything you feel is useful to senior citizens, caregivers and the society at large, feel free to get it published in this space. Write to or on Facebook at and we will publish your account.

(Picture courtesy Images are used for representational purpose only)

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