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A Different Generation
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Nana was born September 10, 1929. Today she is 83 years old and lives without my grandfather in a mausoleum, her mausoleum. I call her every few weeks, but in reality I would like to phone her everyday. When we do speak, we talk of the times and how they have changed for both of us. We reminisce about the different ages I have been, and my accomplishments. We discuss Nana’s youth and sometimes my grandfather who passed away last year. She brings up her leaky heart valve and I cry. She teaches me things about life, and I ingest them as permanently as possible. Most recently, Nana commented on one of my rants when I called her desperate for approval of my newest life evolution. “ You have to plan your life. Your generation, unlike mine, has to plan. When I was your age we graduated from high school and got married and had children. Back in those days, there was no planning.” At age 26, both of my grandmother’s were married and had children. They planned things like what to feed their children for dinner, and how or where to buy clothes for them for school. Au contraire, I concern myself with myself.  Does this make me more selfish than they were? Is my generation more self indulgent because of the planning and limitless boundaries and options we have? Factors such as social norms including availability to birth control, and events such as women’s right to vote (which Nana always mentions) contribute to the evolution of now having to plan. The inflection in Nana’s voice made me feel like she pitied me. 

 

Nana married my biological grandfather and had five children. Nana didn’t have to plan. She later remarried my grandfather long before either my sister Caitlin or I was born. Again, as she states, she didn’t have to plan. She says there was not a long elapse of time between Fred and Al.  Grandpa Al Howe visited her mausoleum just as soon as Fred packed his suitcases in his car, and drove up the hill past the town library and the big white church.

 

I have changed my profession, my major, and I toy with the idea of getting my masters or second bachelors and if so, in what field? How will I afford it?  None of my friends have children. In fact, none of my friends are married, either. I believe partly it is the social crowd I am in, although something tells me it’s not just the one I run around town with.

 

I choose to hear what Nana says regarding my generation not as unfortunate, but rather excellent. Today we have the option to do something or to withstand. I get to choose amongst choices Nana was never offered. The way I continue to grow today tapered for Nana after high school. The unknown can be a scary thing, but life has a way of throwing curve balls. Sometimes you swing and miss, but sometimes you hit them out of the park.

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