For most of us, society has always dictated a strict work ethic:
“Work, work, work.”
“All work and no play.”
“Work now… There’ll be plenty of time to rest when you’re dead.”
But somewhere along the way ideals changed. Maybe it was because of poor health or maybe you finally realized what’s really important. Or, possibly, you now fully understand what “you can’t take it with you” means.
The fact that more and more adults now go to yoga classes; join reading or cooking groups and color just for relaxation says a lot about the way we now view our lives. There’s no right or wrong choice but, in the end, it is your choice so choose wisely!
What used to be an exciting event – planning a much needed vacation – is now an exercise, for some (particularly the elderly), in overcoming obstacles. There are many unconventional things that must now be considered before embarking on, say, a cruise:
Are there wheelchairs available in the terminals (and onboard the ship itself)?
Will all your meds be able to pass safely through customs?
Do you have a doctor’s note to explain the beeping that will (because of the titanium rods currently holding together your limbs) inevitably occur when you go through the metal detectors?
Mind you, these are only some of the obstacles elders will be facing getting onto the ship in the first place. Once you board:
Are there elevators to take you not only floor to floor but also to your seats in the dining areas and theaters?
Is there a special menu for diabetics?
Are there devices for the hearing impaired in noisy areas where BINGO and other activities take place?
And this doesn’t even cover any additional transportation snafus that might be incurred by using planes, busses, cabs or boat tenders to and from the cruise ship. Sadly, at this point, you will be so exhausted from merely planning (what should have been) this fantastic trip that you’ll most likely… just stay home!
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!
As a parent myself I understand the need to know, at all times, that your children are safe. To that end, I always hope (ok, full disclosure… I demand) that my sons let me know when they arrive home from vacation or from a long car trip or even from visiting me.*
Just because your babies leave the nest and have their own lives, doesn’t mean you ever stop worrying about them. It’s a natural feeling – whether they’re off to college or on a business trip or visiting friends and family for the holidays.*
In my case, I’m in my 50’s and I’m living with my parents. You’d think the neuroses (I mean the loving care) would lessen – when I’m only traveling to a nearby town to work for a few hours and then returning home. Alas… NO. Even then I’m expected to call when I arrive safely at my destination and then announce myself upon my arrival home in one piece.
Truth be told, it’s nice to know someone cares about me that much. It would, however, be a lot less of a burden if my parents could understand the concept of simple texting. But that’s just not the case. Instead, it’s a classic case of Once A Parent, Always A Parent!
*Hint, Hint! 😉
NOTE: I dedicate this post to my parents, Carol and Philip, on the occasion of their 59th wedding anniversary. LOVE YOU!