Tag Archives: Wanting to Feel Useful at Old Age

My Grandma’s Small Food Shop, the Wisdom of the Elderly


Grandma told me, that she was going to open up a small food shop, at the head of the street, and we were all surprised by this.

“Why are you so surprised about?”  Grandma saw the members of the family, with a huge QUESTION mark on our faces, she’d used her loud voice, and shouted out to us all, “Are you worried, that with my age, I won’t be able to handle the hard work?”

Pops told her, that she isn’t needing anything in life, that she doesn’t need to work herself to the bones, for some extra few dollars.  But, my close-to-ninety grandma said, “You all think, that when people get older, we don’t need to do anything, and just sit and watch television all day long, is that your definitions of being well in old age?  I need to get up and get going, to keep myself busy, that way, I can make my life more meaningful, and live happily!”

These words, had once again, shocked everybody.  Aside from feeling the shocks, we’d all believe that she has her reasons, and so, we’d all supported her to “open up shop” then.

Grandma took out the private stash of money, amounting to over $100,000N.T., and rented a small shop front that’s no more than the size of a master bedroom, and set up six small tables, and sold just ONE item—sticky rice wrapped in bamboo leaves, this, was what she knew how to cook from the very start too.

Ever since, each and every day when she got up, she’d gone to the marketplace, to buy the freshest pork, peanuts, mushrooms, carrots and radishes, and baby shrimps, etc., etc., etc. and after she’d returned from her shopping, she’d busied about, washing the bamboo leaves, chopping up the meats, cooking the peanuts, the radishes, the carrots, then, she’d stuffed them into the leaves, “Wow!”, when my grandma placed her wrapped up items into the steamer to steam, the aroma of the food came out, it’d often made me want to just take one out, and start chowing down.

When her shop first opened up, there were not very many customers, I guess, it’s because she didn’t do any advertizing.  Right around the time I’d wanted to make posters for her shop, grandma told me not to do it so hurriedly, that waited until how great her food tasted gets passed around by word of mouth, then, the business will surely be going well then.

Turns out, she’s absolutely RIGHT, when the customers ate her stuffed traditional Chinese celebration food item, the words got out, fast.  In just a little over a month’s time afterwards, she’d have a packed house every single day.

“I didn’t set this shop up for the sake of these earnings, but to prove, that even though I’m elderly, I can still be useful, and so, when I see a LOT of guests coming in, I feel very achieved!”, see how my grandma is now gloating, I couldn’t help but nod in agreement.

And so, this, is the Generativity vs. Stagnation Stage of this elderly woman’s life, because she wanted to feel useful, that, was why she’d set up the shop, and because she wanted to share the love she puts into preparing the item for her guests, and, seeing those guests’ satisfied faces after they’d had her food, is more than enough for her.

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Filed under Family Matters, Old Age, Perspectives, Properties of Life