If you had a nickel for every time you said "I’m never going to be like my mom (or dad)” – how rich would you be?! The funny thing is that no matter how often we promise to be different than our parents – history has a funny way of repeating itself when we least expect it! But that's the fun part, right?!
This is not to say that we don’t adore our aging loved ones, but gosh, it would be unusual if your parents and grandparents didn’t drive you crazy once in a while, right? The New York Times covered this topic in an article titled “Things I’ll Do Differently When I’m Old”, and with heartfelt humor, it hit very close to home. It was also not-so-surprisingly relatable to the challenges we watch our clients & families face every day. So in the spirit of making moves easier and making sure you limit your regrets – here are 3 things we give you permission NOT to do like your parents… the rest is probably worth repeating because deep down you know your biggest heroes are the ones who raised you. 😉
3 Things You Can Do Differently Than Your Elders
#1: ASK FOR HELP. How many times did you offer to help mom or dad with a household task, an errand or a project and they turned you down? They thought they were ‘letting you off the hook’ or saving you trouble. But once your loved ones have passed, those moments of togetherness can’t be re-lived. Asking for help isn’t just a way of making life easier or admitting you can’t do it all as you age (and that’s okay!). Doing things, even basic, routine ones, is a way of making memories. So when your kids offer to help – surprise them and say - yes please!
#2: ADMIT FRUSTRATION, BUT DON’T PROJECT IT. This is SO much easier said than done. Did you ever see your parents endure physical changes that made them mad… at you?! Were you yelled at for suggesting a walker, or reprimanded for following a suggested health care routine? Chances are many of the frustrations your parents felt as they aged were on account of their own body – not you. When you start to feel these same moments of anger at not doing what you used to be able to do – give yourself permission to grieve your body – but not to give your kids grief about it! Nagging is usually a labor of love, albeit an annoying one!
#3: DON"T WAIT TOO LONG. Did your parents get to take that long-awaited trip to Europe? Did they sell their home with stairs before someone fell and broke a hip? Did they ever get to take that adult art class at the senior center? We sure hope so! But if not… stop making the list of things you want to do – and start doing them! There are so many ‘good reasons’ to put things off, but everyone deserves to LIVE the best quality of life they can, without feeling the need to justify the time, money or resources to make it happen!
On the flip side, we can think of a few things you’d like to do JUST like your parents too.
Love your children will all your might.
Enjoy the wisdom that comes with age.
Give unconditionally to someone at least once.
What else would you add to the list?!
All our best,
Helen and Julie