Fam­ily not in­vited to wed­ding

The Commercial Appeal - - Viewpoint -

One of my grand­daugh­ters, “Macken­zie,” called to say she is get­ting mar­ried in a few weeks. This will be a small wed­ding, as she and her fi­ance do not have a lot of money. Only 45 guests are in­vited. Macken­zie is not invit­ing my son and daugh­ter-in-law, as they do not have a close re­la­tion­ship and she has not seen them in two years. I was up­set with the news. She also said that she will not be no­ti­fy­ing him and that if I want, I can call him to in­form him.

I un­der­stand this is her wed­ding, but this ex­clu­sion is re­ally up­set­ting me. What does one do?

As you said, this is your grand­daugh­ter’s wed­ding, so she can in­vite whomever she’d like. But she’s also in charge of in­form­ing fam­ily mem­bers that they’re not in­vited. Don’t let that fall to you. That said, if the is­sue is truly just the ex­pense and you have the means fi­nan­cially to help, you could of­fer that op­tion to your grand­daugh­ter. She might re­ally ap­pre­ci­ate the help, and your son and his wife would no doubt ap­pre­ci­ate be­ing in­cluded in their niece’s spe­cial day.

I’m 64, so in six more years, I’ll be in my 70s (if all goes well). Writ­ing from that per­spec­tive, I dis­agree with your ad­vice. Telling peo­ple our age to “lose (them­selves) in help­ing oth­ers” is a way of sug­gest­ing that our own in­ter­ests don’t have value or va­lid­ity.

I’m not say­ing there’s any­thing wrong with vol­un­teer­ing; peo­ple of any age are free to do so. But the be­lief, of­ten stated, that old peo­ple should put­ter around do­ing vol­un­teer work and fo­cus solely on help­ing oth­ers is sell­ing us short. It’s like telling some­one who’s dis­sat­is­fied with be­ing a house­wife and rais­ing kids who are al­most grown that she just needs to have more kids or adopt fos­ter kids or some­thing along those lines.

A sense of pur­pose can also come from do­ing creative work. We could paint, draw or sculpt; write sto­ries, nov­els, screen­plays or me­moirs; spend time with friends and fam­ily; hike and build our health; travel and explore this won­der­ful world; or join groups that are work­ing to “heal the world.” None of these ac­tiv­i­ties is fo­cused on giv­ing up on our own in­ter­ests. Call me self­ish if you will, but I’d like to go on liv­ing my own life for as long as I’m around. The no­tion that we need to lose our­selves in help­ing oth­ers sug­gests our lives aren’t fun any­more or aren’t worth liv­ing. A strange at­ti­tude, in my es­ti­ma­tion.

I’m print­ing your let­ter be­cause you make a great point. There are plenty more ways for re­tirees to spend their time than just vol­un­teer­ing, and self-en­rich­ment isn’t self­ish in the least. Thanks for writ­ing.

Send your ques­tions for An­nie Lane to dear­an­nie@cre­ators.com. To find out more about An­nie Lane visit the Cre­ators Syn­di­cate web­site at www. cre­ators.com.

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