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grandparents

Two women enjoy a tasty early dinner.

Eating an early dinner has always been a stereotype associated with older, retired people who don't have to worry about work schedules and traffic. Plus, older people tend to have an early-to-bed, early-to-rise schedule and are more concerned about thoroughly digesting their meals before hitting the hay.

But an unexpected change in the great American culture means that older people and Gen Zers are more likely to fight each other for a 5 p.m. reservation at their local diner. A recent story in The Wall Street Journal shows that an increasing number of Americans are going out to dinner earlier.


According to Yelp data cited by the WSJ, restaurants currently seat 10% of diners between 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. That number has doubled since 2019 when only 5% of people went to restaurants between those hours. People are also taking Ubers to dinner earlier these days, with a 10% jump in rides between 4 p.m. and 5 p.m. and a 9% drop in those after 8 p.m.

The trend has also caught on in New York City, which, at one time, was known for being a city that never sleeps. RESY reports that reservations across New York City made at 5:30 p.m. have jumped from 7.75% to 8.31% over the past two years, while 8 p.m. reservations have fallen to 7.8%, down from 8.31%.

So what has happened? Have Americans been so run down by the last few years that they’re now acting like their grandparents? Is it more important to binge TV before bedtime than burn the midnight oil with friends? The Robb Report attributes the change to hybrid work. These days 34% of people work from home most of the time, so they can leave the house a lot earlier than before. Plus, when you’re cooped up in your house all day it’s nice to get out and enjoy a bite to eat as soon as possible.

Broadway has adapted to the new trend by scheduling its performances earlier in the day. Movie theaters accommodate the new early-bird lifestyle by adding more early screenings and canceling those that run late at night.

eating early dinner, American habits, Amer

A group of friends enjoying an early dinner

via Alex Haney/Unsplash

Devorah Lev-Tov from RESY New York applauds the change. “A few years ago, we would’ve joked about dining with all the old folks or being condemned to screaming children. Yet now, 5 or 5:30 p.m. is my preferred time to dine … And I’m not alone,” Lev-Tov writes.

According to research, this new change in the American lifestyle could benefit our collective health.

A study published by Cell Metabolism found that people who eat all their meals within a 10-hour window and finish dinner earlier in the day are less hungry, burn calories faster and have a lower risk for obesity.

This rapid change in America’s dining habits shows how sometimes the things we think are deeply embedded in our culture can easily change overnight. The next question is, will brunch still be brunch when people begin eating it at 7:30 a.m.? Because then it’s just breakfast, and drinking champagne for breakfast feels uncouth. But then again, that could change, too.


This article originally appeared on 7.4.23

Family

Woman shares sweet exchange with 92-year-old grandpa who invited her over for 'sleepover'

“We can order food and watch a mystery show. Love, grandpa.”

via Pexels

A grandfather and granddaughter holding hands.

Loneliness is one of the most dangerous health problems in the United States, although it’s seldom discussed. Psychology Today says loneliness has the same mortality risks as obesity, smoking, alcoholism and physical inactivity.

A meta-analysis from Brigham Young University found that social isolation may increase the risk of premature death by up to 50%. The problem with loneliness is that people suffer in silence and it afflicts the ones we don’t see.

A TikTok user who goes by the name Megan Elizabeth recently shared a touching story on social media about how her grandfather was feeling lonely so he reached out to her. The story shows what can happen when one person is brave enough to confront their social isolation and the important role grandkids can play in their grandparents’ lives.


It started when Megan's grandpa texted her to ask if she'd like to come over for a sleepover. “I haven’t been feeling well and miss you. We can order food and watch a mystery show. Love, grandpa,” he wrote.

Megan was happy to go see him, so grandpa made a series of requests to make the sleepover a hit.

“Could you pick up applesauce? The cinnamon kind,” he asked. “And if you go somewhere with mash potatoes, I would like that because I have no teeth and can only eat soft things. Ha!”

He also wanted some strawberry ice cream for dessert. “Thank you. You are my favorite granddaughter,” he ended the conversation. Megan later noted that she’s his only granddaughter.

Megan came by with a big bag of food and some ice cream and the two hung out and watched his favorite black-and-white “mystery movies.” When it was time for bed, grandpa hadn't forgotten how to put her to sleep. He got her a glass of water to put by the bed in case she got thirsty and left a flashlight on the nightstand just in case his 29-year-old granddaughter got scared.

The next morning, at 5:30 am, he watched her leave for work.

Grandfather and granddaughter grew up close to one another. Megan lived with her grandparents when she was young while her parents saved up money for a house. When they bought one, it was right across the street.

“I am so lucky to have grown up with my grandpa and my grandma (rest in peace),” she wrote on Instagram. “I feel so happy. I am thankful for my grandpa and he will never understand how much love he truly has shown me. And more importantly, the love he showed my grandma while she was alive. I believe in love and loyalty because of this man. He is my hero,” she added.

Megan's time with her grandfather made her realize a valuable lesson about her life.

"I think one of the most important realizations I have had recently is that it’s important to live in the moment but it is important to live in the now with intent," she wrote on Instagram, "so that when you are 92, you look back and smile at all the people you loved, the memories you made and the life you chose to live."


This article originally appeared on 04.27.22

Modern Families

Mom shocked when boomer mother-in-law refuses to be called grandma and demands royal title

Many of the older generation refuse to be known as “grandma” or “grandpa.”

via Eviekizmet/TikTok and RDNE Stock project/Pexels

This mother-in-law will not be called "grandma."

A TikToker’s story about the grandiose title her mother-in-law chose instead of grandma is an excellent example of the growing trend of baby boomer grandparents rejecting their traditional titles.

A new mother who goes by the name EvieKizmet on the platform shared the story on January 6 and it received nearly 2 million views.

It all started when she and her husband asked her mother-in-law to choose the name she would use as a grandparent. Using a fake name as an example, she said that her mother-in-law chose “Mama Smith” and that didn't sit well with the mother. “Because realistically, a child is not going to call you by 2 names and it's going to be shortened to Mama. I'm a mama. Not you," she said.


Her husband agreed that it was an "insane" idea.

this one was quite the ride and ended so funny, i got the last laugh 

@eviekizmet

this one was quite the ride and ended so funny, i got the last laugh #monsterinlaws #inlawproblems #monsterinlawproblems

They asked the mother-in-law to come up with another name. "So, after a lot of thought and effort, she came back with ‘Queen Mother,’" she said. The mother-in-law rationalized the name, which also works as an aristocratic title, by stating that she may not be a "mother" to the up-and-coming king, but she is a mother to the "reigning king."

"To be fair, I think she's watching 'Bridgerton,' so that may have played a role," the TikToker said. The mother then suggested a shorter version, "Queenie." This wouldn't fly with the parents-to-be either and eventually, they all agreed on "G-ma."

The story about the entitled mother-in-law appears to be part of a more significant trend where boomers don’t want to be known as grandmas or grandpas.

“Many baby boomers have a hard time reconciling their vibrant, vital and active selves with the traditional names — they don’t fit their self-image,” Ellen J. Klausner, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist in the New York area, told Good Housekeeping. “They think of themselves as organizing and running marathons and associate those traditional monikers with a more sedentary lifestyle — the older relative in a rocking chair — that is not their own.”

To further complicate things, the older generation is now grandparenting in an era where they are more likely to be part of step and blended families and there are a greater number of great-grandparents still around. Dr. Kluasner says that “means that names have to differentiate between the generations and different extended families.”

Paula Span, a New York Times columnist specializing in aging, believes that boomer grandparents have a different approach to names because they don’t think they have much in common with their grandparents.

“A generation of women who entered the labor force, and men who entered the delivery room, isn’t so keen on the old standbys, perhaps,” Span writes. “But here’s my deeper suspicion: However mightily my peers may pine for grandchildren and adore them when they arrive, some don’t want to acknowledge being old enough to be dubbed Grandpop or Granny.”

The younger generations often criticize boomers for being selfish and their inability to understand the challenges that young people face today. But you have to give it to them for being reluctant to admit they’re getting older by taking on the title of grandma or grandpa. Plus, it’s something the younger generations can use to their advantage. “Grandma” or “Grandpa” may be too old and tired to babysit on a Friday night, but “G-ma” and “G-Pa” definitely should be up to watch the kids so you can have a date night.

Family

Adults surprising their grandparents with sleepovers is the most wholesome trend of 2024

Watching the grandparents go from confused to elated is just so sweet.

@nurseb662/TikTok, @.gabrrieellaa/TikTok

Who says sleepovers have to stop when you're an adult?

As far as childhood memories go, nothing hits quite like those sleepovers at Grandma and Grandpa’s house. A night full of comfies and yummies all while snuggled up and watching a movie…such a special time for bonding.

Well, in a fabulously wholesome new viral trend, pajama-clad adults are bringing the sweet tradition back into the present, much to their grandparents' surprise—and delight.

Take a scroll stroll though #grandparentssleepover on TikTok, and you’ll find countless videos featuring unsuspecting grandparents at first confused by an impromptu grandkid visit, then utterly thrilled that they get to relive a nostalgic memory.


Take Brandi Fair and her grandma Pam, for instance. In a video posted to Brandi’s TikTok, which currently has 5.6 million views, we see Pam sitting on the couch, minding her own business, when all of a sudden Brandi and the rest of Pam’s grandchildren burst through the door with pillows, sleeping bags and fun games.

“Surprised their Nana with a sleepover. They have done this since they were little,” Brandi’s caption reads.

@nurseb662 Surprised their Nana with a sleep over. They havent done this since they were little 😩❤️#grandparents #christmas2023🎄🎁 ♬ These Memories - Hollow Coves

She shared with TODAY.com that the night consisted of Bingo and looking through old photos, followed by a biscuit and gravy breakfast the next morning. Adding one last bit of novelty to the event, the grandkids also apparently snagged Pam’s deck of playing cards and hid them throughout the house for her to find later.

"She said, 'I will never forget this,’” Brandi told TODAY.com. Sleeping over at “Grandmother Pam and Paw-Paw Larry's” had been routine for the kids, and since Larry had passed away, Pam had been lonely.

Meanwhile, watch this Italian grandma become over the moon as she is bombarded by her giggling grandkids blaring festive music.

@juliagalluccio3 she was so confused at first😭😭 #cousins #adultsleepover #christmas #surprise ♬ original sound - julia galluccio

“Just like the good ol’ days!” the presumed granddad can be heard saying.

It can be difficult to carve out time in our busy adult lives to spend with our grandparents—not to mention we might not even live in the same area or might have never had a close relationship to begin with. But if and when we can find the time, the rewards are endless for both parties, especially when it comes to emotional well-being and mental health.

Grandparents offer us a wealth of knowledge and family history, and can provide valuable conversation that we simply couldn’t fully appreciate as kids. Likewise, keeping in touch regularly can help them ward off depression and boost brain function.

Luckily, there are other ways besides sleepovers to cultivate those close relationships, like cooking together, taking walks, sharing family stories, asking questions or participating in a class, just to name a few.

And if distance is an issue, regular Zooms, FaceTimes, phone calls, emails, letters, etc., do a world of good for strengthening bonds.

But of course, if you can head on over to Grandma and Grandpa’s house in a onesie with some microwaveable popcorn, then obviously do that. It’s the most fun option, clearly.