Advice Worth Taking

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I find it amazing that the very people (our parents and grandparents) who taught us life lessons can be so hypocritical when it comes to the ‘new’ generation.

I was taught:

  • No sleeping together before marriage
  • Marriage before children
  • Go to college and then get a job
  • No car till you can afford gas and insurance

Now, my parents (I have no living grandparents) allow their grandkids to do pretty much whatever they want. There are suddenly no more rules or restrictions and they even help finance some of these questionable choices.

What’s a modern parent to do… Is turnabout fair play? Perhaps that dreaded nursing home is starting to look a bit more tempting! 😉

 

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Cause And Effect

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Some things are better left alone. That might sound defeatist but there are just times when one must leave well enough alone.

Here are a few examples concerning older people:

  • If you ask for a different medication, you may suffer worse side effects.
  • If you send out appliances to be fixed, you will find yourself without them for possibly long periods of time.
  • If you wait around for perfect weather conditions, you will be spending a lot more time stuck inside.
  • If you wait for others to do things for you that you’re capable of doing yourself, you will lose your independence at an alarming rate.

Most aging Americans today refuse to let their limitations rule their lives. Instead, they find ways around their disabilities and power ahead. I hope my generation has as much moxy and determination as theirs. It’s to their credit (those that are thriving) that they’ve defied the odds and entered into a new world of technology and hope!

 

My Dream Job

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“Hello… Hello… Is anybody there?” I often hear this refrain from my Mom who just can’t seem to figure out ‘call waiting.’ I put it on her phone so that she would never miss an important call (from me) while chatting with her friends. I might need to tell her that I’ll be home late or that they didn’t have the library book she asked me to pick up for her and is there a second choice on her list. But if she’s going over the crossword puzzle answers or debating politics for the umpteenth time with her friends then I better just give up and come home (of course then she’ll tell me she was worried sick and why didn’t I call).

There’s been a fairly contentious TV battle going on in our home, too. We have several TVs (one in each room not including the bathrooms) so it’s not like you’re outta luck if one of them goes dark. I have repeatedly shown my mother the art of HD and explained that the HD TV does not respond as well on standard channels so just add 500 to all your favorites and the TV will be your new best friend. Simply waiting for a service call is, obviously, not an option.

I’ve long since lost the ‘computer’ war with my folks but that doesn’t mean they don’t see the good that my having one does them (in full disclosure, I don’t actually have one either because I do all my business on my phone). 

For instance:

  • “Ellen, what is 10 across and 29 down – can you look that up for me?”
  • “Ellen, can you deposit this check for me and check my bank balance?”
  • “Ellen, can you get me a digital coupon for this week’s shopping?”

And so on and so on…

The bottom line, clearly, for them is that THEY don’t need to have a computer because they have ME!

 

High Tech Drama

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Last night, I innocently showed my Dad a video on my phone. Granted, he couldn’t actually see it but he heard it and was able to get the gist of its content. This morning, he told me he had a restless night because he couldn’t stop thinking about that video.

Because I know how my Dad’s mind works (most of the time), I was able to decipher that what bothered him was not so much what he had heard but, rather, that I was able to access it. He was concerned about how and when I managed to ‘get into this person’s house and possessions.’ The fact that anyone at anytime has free and clear access to the ‘Internet’ and all that that entails, is beyond his comprehension.

I would imagine that, to his mind, I am someone akin to an Edward Snowden for his generation. All kidding aside (and, yes, I am most definitely kidding), I  am much less computer savvy than even MY contemporaries. So I can, truthfully, see how confusing that must have seemed to him.

But his mind, nonetheless, went immediately to his own privacy and he just couldn’t shake the idea that ‘big brother’ was now watching him. I tried not to insult him by explaining that no one was looking into his past – not the time he argued with his classmate at the bus stop and not the time he drove a few miles over the speed limit when Carter was president.

Unfortunately, what started out as a simple means of sharing (what I considered to be) interesting information turned into an eye-opening, educational lesson for us both!

Separate But Equal

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Here’s a little bit of a conversation I overheard Mom having with her sister on the telephone the other day:

Mom: “Who told them they can sing?” – that would be Mom (who is tone-deaf) discussing a performance on a TV singing contest that she did not even watch.

Mom: “Why can’t they wear more clothes when they dance?” – that would be Mom giving her opinion of a performance on a TV dancing contest that she also did not watch.

Mom: “They don’t write songs like that anymore…” – that would be Mom’s take on any Broadway musical written before the 1950’s.

In my Mom’s world, nothing is as good as it used to be. All the ‘real’ singers and dancers have mostly died (a few, like Tony Bennett and Baryshnikov, are the obvious exceptions). So for her, and possibly for many others of her generation, the caliber of talent of today’s artists is in no way equal to that of their predecessors. But, hey, you can’t please everyone and (as my Mom has often been heard saying): “That’s what makes horse-racing!”

Which Costs More?

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I don’t know when it is, exactly, that a person stops wanting things. Maybe if you grew up in times of war or depression, you were accustomed to doing without. We are such an entitled generation that we take most everything for granted. Sadly, we ‘expect’ rather than ‘desire.’

When we’re small it’s always, “gimme, gimme, gimme.” When we’re a bit older it’s, “I want,” “I need,” “I’m the only one who doesn’t have…” We sound like a bunch of spoiled brats. But, more often than not, our whining gets us exactly what we want.

Fortunately, at some point (usually when WE start paying for our own food, clothing, rent, gas), we get it. That’s when we have to start looking at the prices of things as well as the balance in our checkbooks (okay, we don’t really use checkbooks anymore but you know what I mean…).

So, now we begin a new chapter in our financial history book called: “Which costs more?” 

  • Dine out or cook in?
  • Movieplex or movie rental?
  • Vacation or stay-cation?
  • Bookstore or Library?

And then it hits us. The big divide between what we think we need and what we can actually afford. That’s not to say that we must give up all essentials – only those little ‘extras’ that we didn’t really need in the first place!

Grandparents At Play

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There’s something very calming about rocking chairs… They’re pretty, they’re sturdy, they rock and you can fall asleep on them. And yet very few people actually own them. Only in certain parts of the country will you see them on front porches.

But do you ever see anyone actually sitting and rocking?

I realize we all work too hard and seldom take the time to just sit and relax – maybe watch a sunset or a rain shower. But wouldn’t it be nice if at, say, 4pm everyday you were required to just sit and rock for maybe 10 minutes?

Of course, the time would probably be spent checking phone messages or playing games or texting. That’s why we need to look to our elders as examples. Grandparents know how to play that game (mostly because they’re not consumed with our generation’s need to stay connected). When they see an unoccupied rocker, they sit and they rock. Period.

So why is it that, on any given day, at any given time, these chairs remain still? I’d like to think that all the grandparents are somewhere, happily engaging in grandparent-y activities. But the reality is… they’re more likely at rest than at play!