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!
You can’t always take someone else’s word for something that you can’t see for yourself. It’s fine to participate in a good debate and some people enjoy taking classes as adults because they’re still interested in learning. But never settle for accepting someone else’s opinion.
We often tell our children to be leaders, not followers. We encourage them to think and act for themselves (of course, they’ll only listen to what we say for a few short years). Then it’s on to their friends as their closest advisors.
It’s certainly easier, by far, to just be a bystander and not commit yourself to a cause. That might be okay for some people but others like to take a more active part. Standing up for or standing beside another human being takes a different kind of person – one who is completely dedicated and accepts the risks involved.
Open your eyes, your mind and your heart and, together, let them lead the way. You’ll sleep better, you’ll feel better and you’ll never again doubt your choices!
The end is coming… sounds dire, right? Well, that all depends. If you truly believe in quality over quantity, you already know how to make the most of your time. Most people, when asked if they’d like to know when they’re going to die, prefer remaining ignorantly blissful. What kind of life would you have if you spent every waking hour waiting for it to end?
We are given warnings about our wellbeing since the moment we begin to understand: “Don’t touch the hot stove,” “Don’t pet the loose dog,” “Don’t smoke cigarettes,” Don’t Don’t Don’t.
All the advanced notices and ‘heads up’ in the world continue to fall on deaf ears every day. Some people are no brighter than a deer caught in the headlights of an approaching car. That’s on them. There’s an old expression, “fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on ME.” In life, you don’t always get a second chance so it’s best to keep your eyes wide open and your head up at all times!*
*especially people who walk around with their head down and their eyes glued to their phones…
When people label their various stages of life, it’s usually things like ‘before kids’ or ‘after divorce.’ But when you’ve lived well into your retirement years, it tends to be more like ‘before dementia sets in’ or ‘after everything stops working.’
None of us can predict the future and, as we grow older and approach our declining years, we’re learning that some things ‘just happen’ – no matter how much we try to plan otherwise. Bad things happen to good people and some bad people live to a ripe old age.
Different religions teach about destiny and fate. But, for all of us, life should be a journey well traveled. There will be ups and downs, triumphs and tragedies, good times and bad. It’s up to each of us to make the best of the hands we’re dealt.
We, alone, are responsible for the choices we make.
So, next time you decide to label your life’s stages, try these on for size: ‘before I finally opened my eyes’ and ‘after I forgave myself!’
An elderly Irish woman was driving home late one night, her husband in the passenger seat. Suddenly she saw flashing lights behind her. She pulled the car over and the officer walked up to her car. She lowered the window as the officer said, “Ma’am, do you know your husband fell out of the car two miles back?”
“Oh, thank goodness,” she replied. “I thought I’d gone deaf!”
(borrowed, with permission, from a friend’s Facebook post and written by Irish comedian, Hal Roach)
A is for arthritis B is for bad back C is for the chest pains – corned beef?cardiac? D is for dental decay and decline E is for eyesight – can’t read that top line F is for fissures and fluid retention G is for gas (which I’d rather not mention – and not to forget other gastrointestinal glitches) H is high blood pressure I is for itches and lots of incisions J is for joints, that now fail to flex L is libido – what happened to sex? Wait! I forgot about K! K is for my knees – that crack all the time (But forgive me, I get a few lapses in my Memory from time to time) N is for nerve (pinched) and neck (stiff)
and neurosis O is for osteo – for all the bones that crack P is for prescriptions, that cost a small fortune Q is for queasiness. Fatal or just the flu? Give me another pill and I’ll be good as new! R is for reflux – one meal turns into two S is for sleepless nights (counting fears on how to pay my medical bills) T is for tinnitus – I hear bells in my ears
And the word ‘terminal’ also rings too near U is for urinary and the difficulties that flow (or not) V is for vertigo, as life spins by W is worry, for pains yet unfound X is for x-ray and what one might find Y is for year (another one, I’m still alive) Z is for zest
For surviving the symptoms my body’s deployed
And keeping 26 doctors gainfully employed
If your parents ever told you, “that’s just an old wives tale,” you aren’t alone. However, these ’stories’ can run the gamut from curiously helpful to completely whacky. Here are the Top 5 best ‘luck’ ones I’ve heard to date:
1) A cricket in the house brings good luck – not to the person who can’t sleep through the noise.
2) It’s bad luck to leave through a different door than the one used to come in – ummmm, anyone ever hear of an apartment?
3) If the palm of your right hand itches it means you will soon be getting money – that’s not what the nuns told my male Catholic school friends.
4) It’s bad luck to leave shoes upside down – especially if you stepped in something outside.
5) An apple a day keeps the doctor away – not a good thing if you’re married to the doctor.
So, all in all, as long as you refrain from crossing your eyes, making an ugly face, stepping on a crack or swallowing a watermelon pit, you should be just fine. At least until the next time you eat before swimming, sit too close to the tv or crack your knuckles!
As you age, you notice certain parts of your body fail to work quite as well as they used to work. Your eyes don’t see as well and your ears don’t hear as well. You might experience a change in your taste buds and certain smells that you used to enjoy may now seem unpleasant.
Supposedly (much like ‘when a door closes, a window opens’), when one of your senses starts to decline, another one becomes stronger. People who are born without sight or hearing or even limbs have been known to accomplish incredible feats due to this phenomenon. Some of our best known artists, musicians and athletes are among them.
So, if it takes you a little longer to get around or you have to rely on the kindness of others when performing daily tasks… fear not. We’re all in this together. Today you may notice the daily struggles encountered by your elders but tomorrow (or soon enough) your day will come. And even if (one day) your teeth come out of a jar, you can still command an audience with your Life Songs. Just remember to always keep em smiling (and, more importantly, make sure you take those teeth out of the jar first)!