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word from the wise

'Don't share so much on social media' - advice for your 20s from those who have been there

Retired people on why you shouldn’t worry ‘until worry worries you’.

This article is part of our Change Generation project, supported by KBC. To read more click here.

DON’T SHARE SO much on social media.

Spend as much time with your family as possible.

Don’t worry about what might happen.

These are some of the pieces of advice that retired people have for anyone in their 20s.

Here, we ask them what they worried about most at that age and what wisdom they have gained since.

Marie Doyle, 67

Jennifer Ryan Jennifer Ryan

What did you worry about in your younger days?

“Fashion and money. I didn’t worry about an awful lot, but I think looks, fitting into society and having the right clothes worried me, whereas nowadays you can wear anything, everything goes.”

Marie says things were different when she was in her 20s – women were expected to dress a certain way. She rebelled though:

I remember the first time I wore trousers to work I was sent home to change and that was only in the 60s. The next day I wore them in I refused to go home.

Her advice for people in their 20s and 30s is simple:

Just be yourself and love yourself.

Patricia Doherty, 85

Jennifer Ryan Jennifer Ryan

“I suppose I worried about my appearance. We used to go to a lot of ‘hops’, what you would call dances. You’d worry a lot about what you’d wear and the washing and ironing that went along with it. The last thing on our minds really was how we had to work to pay for all that.”

Patricia thinks that younger people now are perhaps too sensitive at times and should think of others a bit more.

Maybe we’ve spoiled them a bit bringing them up and they’re very sensitive to what’s happening among their own age group.

Her advice is to be careful about sharing too much on social media:

I’d be inclined to say to them to cut back a bit on Facebook and that, if they feel a bit sensitive about what they read about themselves. You’re also warned that when you go for a job now potential employers will look up what you’ve said, so I’d ask them to be careful.

Dermot Halligan, 70

Dermot Halligan Dermot Halligan

“I did shift work for Dublin Bus while my kids were growing up and the company said that family members could go for jobs. I told my son and he said: ‘No Dad, look at you’.”

Dermot says he knew what his son meant. He saw his father as having missed his childhood because he often worked anti-social hours.

I missed out on the rearing of my children because of shift work. My advice would be to spend as much time with your family as possible. I’m a devoted grandfather and I’m making up for lost time with my grandchildren now.

Dermot says younger people should try not to worry too much about money and what might happen.

My mother always used to say, ”Don’t worry until worry worries you,” and I think that’s the best advice I could give.

Mary Murphy, 88

Jennifer Ryan Jennifer Ryan

Mary says she lived in digs when she was younger and there weren’t too many things that worried her. How she looked was important though:

Your style and I suppose your enjoyment.

Like Patricia, she thinks people should spend less time on social media. She says she wasn’t pleased when her son set up an account for her, thinking that she would enjoy it:

I said, I do not want to be on Facebook. I don’t want to know what my grandchildren are doing! One of my grandsons agreed and said: ‘Gran, I wouldn’t want my mum on Facebook.’

Margaret ‘Peg’ Long, 88

Jennifer Ryan Jennifer Ryan

Margaret played hockey for Ireland in her time and her life was built around sport, so she worried about it constantly:

It worried me whether I’d get on the team and if I would stay on the team. I’d worry whether I’d be able to score a goal and if I’d play for Ireland.

She also played tennis and she had some concerns around that too, though not all of them were about the game.

I’d worry if I’d get to play tennis in the club and if this particular fellow would ask me to play on the mixed doubles.

Margaret started working in Switzers when she was 20 years old and she loved it. Like Patricia, she says the ‘hops’ were a great source of stress:

I worried about my appearance. I think we all did and we worried about what you’d wear to the next ‘hop’ and who’d leave you home, who you’d dance with.

Thank you to the members of the Blackrock & Monkstown and Tallaght Active Retirement Ireland groups who spoke the for this article

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