As a parent, you want the best for your kids. You give them all your time and attention and hope they become all they can be, that they remember their children lovingly and they will become good, kind and loving. And as your kids get older, the role you are assigned changes. When they are very small, you are pretty much their world. When they get older, you start becoming the one who is telling them not to do things, especially when they start exploring the world. Suddenly you might be the villain in their story, this might be the time you hit their teenage years. And as they start standing on their own feet, you become the bank of mom & pop, their advice giver, a couch the crash on, the one they can always return to.
And as you picture all these phases, you might catch yourself thinking what role you would play in their life when they are all grown up and have children of their own. You might picture them having kids at a young age, and in that vision, you are relatively young and one of those cool grandparents. Maybe you even see you being a great-grandparent, or perhaps even great-great-grandparent. And as you imagine another generation, surely the concept of age starts creeping into that view.
You might think that at an old age, you will be completely self-sufficient, but if we are honest to ourselves, that might be a pipe dream. And that will scare most people, not being self-sufficient and being a burden on our kids. If you have not already done so, it might be a good time to start thinking about how you can ensure you are self-sufficient for as long as it takes. But don’t be stubborn, you never know what will happen. Accept help when you need to.
As we get older, we are more prone to injuries and chronic conditions. With age becomes weaker bones, muscles and less energy. We might start to cook less for ourselves, as cooking big meals is not needed anymore. Or we simply don’t have the energy for it. This is a dangerous trap as tv dinners might have fewer nutrients in them, leading again to not having enough energy.
Alternatively, there are the common joints problems and even issues with eating food that requires much chewing. Then there is the deterioration of our nervous system and brain. You sometimes read about elder abuse in nursing homes, where the elderly simply have no one to alert or dementia prevents them to communicate this horrific crime to loved ones or the authorities. Then there is also loneliness, which is continually emphasized by the loss of friends and loved ones. Growing old does seem like a bleak prospect if you don’t have the financial security and supportive social safety net. So when you think about self-sufficiency, also consider you cannot fix everything.
Maybe it’s time to spend some time with your parents if you are long overdue. With Christmas coming nearer every day, think of the people who saw you in every phase of your life, before it all even happened.