Is Easier Better?

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My parents and I just celebrated our second anniversary of generational living. Has it improved their quality of life? Has it made their lives any easier?

I’ve decided to let them speak for themselves. So I quickly jotted down a few key questions and I’ll share their answers with you. These are things we all wonder about in our own lives so I figured they’d be helpful on a number of levels.

Me: “Are you happy?”
Mom: “Yes.”
Dad: “I’m learning to deal…”

Me: “How much stress do you feel daily?”
Mom: “A bit.”
Dad: “Tons.”

Me: “If you could have one wish?”
Mom: “That your Dad’s eyes were better.”
Dad: “That I could get my eyes back.”

My takeaway from this is that, while my parents (after nearly 60 years together) are basically on the same wave length, their commonality works best when they are at their best selves!

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Short Term Paranoia

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As a small child I remember thinking the ‘old guy’ that always sat at his window, looking outside to make sure no one stepped on his perfectly manicured lawn, was a bit creepy. In his defense, neighborhood kids did make it a point to purposely throw balls onto his lawn and (before we were taught to pick up after our dogs) dogs regularly used his front lawn as their own public pooper-scooper.

Since living back with my parents I’ve noticed that they, too, spend an awful lot of time sitting in front of THEIR window. They watch for the mailman (they don’t get much more than medical bills); the meals-on-wheels delivery man (with whom they’re on a first name basis); the UPS truck (when I tell them I’m expecting a package but it probably won’t arrive for weeks); and their grandkids (as if wishing for it will actually make it happen).

I realize they have little to look forward to on a daily basis but it seems a bit paranoid of them to watch out for, say, impending snow when only an inch or two is predicted and they have nowhere to go in it anyway. But I suppose it does make the days go by faster and maybe, in their minds, it might even make them feel more a part of their surroundings now that they spend so much of their time indoors.

As I think back on that ‘old guy’ next door and remember how my Dad used to call him a busybody and a cranky old man, it feels as if time has come full circle only now it’s my Dad who has earned the title of ‘crotchety-old-dude.’

But, if truth be told and years of hard living give you some street cred, he’s truly earned it!

High Blood Pressure

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Few things in life naturally lower our blood pressure – but plenty can raise it. Between worrying about our health, our families, our pets, our friends, our careers, our finances… there’s little time left over to just ‘chill.’

There are numerous drugs on the market that will help keep BP at an even keel. Doctors tell us to give up almost all of the things that give us the most pleasure. “Everything in moderation,” they tell us. Yeah, and we’re also told to ‘just say no’ and ‘you can’t eat just one…’

But these are, literally, words to live by.

We should eat right, exercise, do yoga and/or meditate and all our troubles will magically disappear. Really? Just like that? Yet we continue to abuse our bodies – putting chemicals and additives and artificial coloring and preservatives into our system on a daily basis. We have little if no self control and, when we feel poorly, we blame everyone else but ourselves.

I, for one, do not have high blood pressure. I’m as stressed as the next person but I don’t keep things bottled up inside. I yell, I complain and… you know what? I feel better.

So, do what your doctor tells you and take meds if they’re recommended but the rest is up to you. Find something that calms you – I knit and I color. It relaxes me at the end of a long and stressful day. So does drinking a cup of hot tea and eating a whole lotta chocolate!

Take A Pill

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As spoiled Americans, we eat what we want and we smoke and drink in excess – irregardless of all the warnings from our doctors and the surgeon general. Then we sit back (because we sit way too much) and complain when we don’t feel well.

For some people, the solution is rather simple – “take a pill.” Or two. Or… We are notorious blamers. But we never want to take responsibility for our own actions. It’s so much easier to place the blame elsewhere. Or to expect a miracle at the last minute.

I have, personally, never liked taking pills. I will always try to find a more natural way to deal with any conditions or complications that arise. I only recently started taking vitamins – and only 3 each morning – to help give me more energy and to stave off the cold which permeates my bones and fingers and toes almost daily.

So… “to pill or not to pill?” That’s up to the individual (or their doctor). For me, I choose to eat right, abstain from drinking and smoking and, hopefully, I’ll live long (and well enough) to not regret it!

Piece Of Mind

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Did you know that when you live with your parents, later in life, you actually start to lose large pieces of your mind on a daily basis? It’s not like when you temporarily lose your keys or forget someone’s phone number. Or when you sit in traffic because it was decided that rush hour was a convenient time to pave the road or there’s an accident on the other side of the divider and all the drivers in front of you decide to look and take photos and you think, “there are two hours of my life I’ll never get back.”

No, this is something entirely different. 

When my Dad – who has very limited sight and even more limited acceptance of that fact – insists on pouring his own drink and I then spend my few free moments of the day cleaning up the spills that could have been avoided if he would have just allowed me the privilege of doing it for him in the first place… there goes one piece of your mind. 

Then when my Mom thinks she is saving 15 cents (yes, cents) by using a coupon from one particular store that is miles away from where I’m doing their regular shopping – resulting in my having to spend a half hour more of my valuable time, traveling in the car (not to mention about 10x as much in gas as the coupon is worth) – just so I can buy that item that she didn’t really even need but had a coupon for… there goes another piece of mind. 

And, finally, when I spill some yogurt down the front of my new shirt (because I’m so tired from running around doing errands and fixing things around the house) and I realize I’ve witnessed this same scene before but, instead of me, it was with the very people I’m usually helping clean up after – that’s when it occurs to you that it’s not a piece of mind you’ve lost but your peace of mindfulness!*

*Don’t sweat the small stuff… Listen to your heart… Take time for yourself… Set clear boundaries… Give yourself the gift of forgiveness… Go ahead and vent… Remain calm… Make the best of a bad situation… Don’t take it all so seriously… Treasure the journey… And when all else fails – LAUGH!