Like many of my readers, I spend quite a lot of time on social media. It’s the quickest way to find out what’s going on around us. The problem is, we tend to express our opinions a little too openly and frequently under that guise. And sometimes that ends badly.
So, I’ve decided to limit my time on social media and, in doing so, hopefully allow my brain and my emotions to take a step back and refresh. That doesn’t mean I’m backing off or shutting down. I’m simply trading in my new phone stylus for my old knitting needles!
The very first thing I often hear (after returning home from work at night) is my Dad talking back to the TV. This is something a lot of people do – not only the elderly. Whether it’s a televised sports game (“what are you, blind?”) or a game show (“buy a vowel, you moron”) or a myriad of other brain-numbing, soul-sucking, waste-of-time forms of entertainment, it amazes me the number of sane human beings who are glued to this never-ending cycle of visual stimulation. And my parents aren’t even aware of the modern concept of ‘streaming.’
It’s no wonder the television set has oftentimes been referred to as an ‘idiot box.’
I stopped reading the newspaper years ago because all I ever saw was murder, celebrity gossip and sports. Add to that the local weather and traffic report and that’s basically all that’s on the TV news as well. As if that wasn’t bad enough, there are tons of additional stations that keep replaying accidents and general mayhem 24/7. Such fun.*
So here’s some free advice:
STOP WATCHING. Like they used to say on walkie-talkies and CB radios: “over and out.” There. Problem solved, right? You’d think it would be that simple but, as bored as my Dad is these days because there’s only so much he can do with limited sight, he constantly sits down in front of the TV – knowing that, between watching every televised political debate, all my Mom’s game shows and soaps and his round-the-clock CNN, his blood pressure will no doubt be raised at some point. Maybe TVs should come with a warning from the surgeon general!
*Anyone who watches ‘Miranda’ on public television will get that reference.
What’s the difference between helping and enabling? That’s a tricky question. It’s one that I’ve been battling with myself over for some time now.
The dictionary defines ‘help’ as doing something to make it easier for someone… to aid or assist someone. ‘Enable’ is defined as making something possible or easy. But isn’t that essentially the same thing? At least in literal terms, it sounds like a positive action. So how come I constantly feel like I’m doing my parents an injustice?
Here are some examples:
1) The Mail – getting it saves my parents time and a trip down the elevator. Saving my parents a trip down the elevator keeps them from leaving their home and from having something to do to break up the day.
2) The Store – going to the pharmacy or picking up dinner saves my parents from having to do these chores themselves. Doing these chores for my parents keeps them from leaving their home, having something to do and from socializing with other people.
3) The TV – turning on the tv, taping programs and checking the guide saves my parents from ever having to learn how to operate the remote. Operating the remote myself, instead of insisting they learn how to do it themselves, keeps them reliant on me, doesn’t challenge their brains, keeps them (basically) in the Stone Age and out of touch with technology and the resources of the 21st century.
What’s the difference between HelPing and eNABling? BN HAP (being happy)!
I’ve been given a unique opportunity to both care for my parents and also to discover a myriad of ways to control my anger/anxiety.
Yesterday, I found Dad pacing in his room. That wasn’t the scary part though. He was also yelling and placing blame for something that had just happened only, at the time, I wasn’t aware of what that was or why it had happened.
After talking to him (not quite as calmly as I would have liked at first) I was able to figure out the problem and solve it for him. Apparently, he had been painstakingly trying to shave his face for nearly 30 minutes and had gone through an entire pack of 12 disposable razors in the process. What he didn’t realize (due to his fading eyesight) was that the razors all had covers on them. This man who had once carried me around on his shoulders to keep me from scratching, during an agonizing bout with chickenpox (thanks to my brother), was now unable to see the tiny piece of plastic that was causing him so much misery.
Here’s where the yelling and blaming part comes in…
Apparently, when you get to this point in life, you feel like the world is against you so you blame anyone and everyone for your current situation. That said: “how can you possibly tell a man, who you’ve looked up to your entire life, that it’s his fault and his alone?”
The answer is: “you can’t.”
So, in an effort to exonerate everyone who had just been wrongly implicated in a conspiratorial incident I, instead, used some brain aerobic exercises and just dumped out the razors into the drawer with their covers off and hoped that no future fingers ended up with nasty razor cuts!