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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Something For Everyone

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If you’re still at an age where you’re working full time, you probably haven’t thought much about retirement. Unless, of course, you’re miserably unhappy at your current job. Or you’re close to retirement age and you’re just counting down the days or years till you can sit home and collect Social Security.

In today’s society, with people living longer lives, there’s a strange new phenomenon whereby as soon as someone retires, they immediately look for part-time work. I guess, for some people, the idea of relaxing and enjoying your ‘golden years’ is unheard of and, after all, why would someone want to spend all their time at home… with their loving spouse or, perhaps, traveling the world together??

In my opinion, some people just aren’t capable of being happy and others are only so when ‘they’ are the most important person in their life!

 

Make ‘Em Laugh

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Three sisters, ages 92, 94 and 96, live in a house together. One night the 96 year old draws a bath. She puts one foot in and pauses. She yells down the stairs, “was I getting in or out of the bath?”

The 94 year old yells back, “I don’t know, I’ll come up and see.” She starts up the stairs and pauses. Then she yells out, “was I going up the stairs or down?”

The 92 year old is sitting at the kitchen table having tea and listening to her sisters. She shakes her head and says, “I sure hope I never get that forgetful.” She ‘knocks on wood’ for good measure and then replies, “I’ll come up and help both of you as soon as I see who’s at the door!”

See For Yourself

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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 Perfect Combination

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Certain foods just seem to go together – Burger and fries; Mac and cheese; Chips and dip. The same can be said for some of our activities – A movie and popcorn; A ballgame and hot dogs; A concert and wine/beer. 

You might partake in any of these on a special occasion or even on a daily basis but… is one person’s perfect combo meal another’s as well?

I have some favorites that may or may not appeal to anyone else:

  • Salmon, brown rice and steamed broccoli 
  • Grilled Swiss cheese and avocado
  • Chocolate brownie with mint chip ice cream and hot fudge 

My Dad prefers:

  • Salisbury Steak and mashed potatoes
  • Meat loaf and mashed potatoes
  • Hamburger and mashed potatoes 

Maybe our palates are set as children – depending on such things as: if you grew up during the Depression or if you bought daily school lunches. Who knows? But as long as your health isn’t affected and it makes you happy… To each, his/her own!

 

Note To Self

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It seems like such a simple and obvious notion – to make time for yourself. But how many of us remember to do it or make the effort to rearrange our busy schedules?

I often find myself, at day’s end, not having completed my mental ‘to do’ list. It’s partly my fault by becoming distracted by other obligations. But there are, after all, only 24 hours in a day. Moreover, 6-8 of those hours (if we’re lucky) are spent asleep so that leaves…

See? I almost did it again. I certainly don’t have the time it takes to do math. What matters most is the quality of our time spent – even with family and friends, it’s not so much the minutes or the hours but the actual together time – without preoccupation or interference from any outside sources.

So: “note to self” – I will always be at my best, for others, when I am at my best for my own self. And, sometimes, that means having to take a moment to look up at the stars or to smell the roses or to hear my sons voices on the telephone. Then, and only then, can I be my very best ME!

Your Soul Mate

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You can live an entire lifetime and never know true love. You can live a long and productive life and never be loved. You can love someone and never have that love returned. Love is… complicated.

But if you’re lucky enough to find true love and to live a full and joyous life with that one special person, then you’d be in the same small club that my parents are members of. How do you know? Simple.

  • You have been with the same person for more years than you can count.
  • You can barely remember a time when you weren’t together.
  • You think about that person first thing in the morning and last thing before bed.

So… Still not sure? Then ask yourself this question: “Am I a better person because he/she is in my life?” If the answer is, “yes,” then chances are you have found your ‘sole’ mate!

What Color’s That?

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I grew up with a brother who was colorblind so I’m slightly accustomed to the ‘odd’ pairings of colors. It’s not a monumental faux pas to wear a blue shirt with black pants and brown shoes. It just wouldn’t necessarily be someone’s first choice of wardrobe. Hopefully.

Occasionally, an elderly person walking around this community might be spotted wearing a polka-dotted shirt with plaid pants or the dreaded knee socks with sandals. There’s simply no good reason for that. Even age doesn’t give you a free pass…

But when you start deliberately mixing colors that are so off the spectrum of what should go together, it’s like you’re trying to start a full-blown fight instead of a conversation. I’m all for new trends and ideas and I can totally accept change. But unless your ‘new color scheme’ is aesthetically pleasing to my eye (and to others), I’m going to go full-out PC on you and ask, “what color’s that?”