Parenting your Parents

Last month a bunch of family was gathered at my Sister in law’s house to celebrate the birthday of my niece and nephew.  As my Father in law pounded his third donut, or devil dog, or whatever sugary treat my Husband asked: ”

Hey Dad. How are your triglycerides?

My FIL responded- “Look at me.  Do I look 81.  Good genes I tell you.”

To be fair, FIL is an a decent weight and is generally healthy, but his triglyceride number is out of the park. And then my Husband added-

“I know.  But that mini stroke you had…that was a warning sign…”

My FIL looked at him quizzically.  “I didn’t have a mini stroke.  I’m the healthiest man alive.  I’m a specimen…..” Enter more machismo here.

My Husband and his cousin looked at one another. “Yes you did.  About eight years ago. When you were still with G (his girlfriend who passed away about five years ago)

And this discussion went on for a bit, my FIL proclaiming he is the healthiest man alive, and the others at the table sitting and staring and worrying.

So what do you do when you parents start forgetting their health issues? I know we like to forget things that are unpleasant, but….how do you forget that you were in the hospital for a mini stroke?

B (the cousin) said that her parents are starting to forget their medical histories too- which drugs they’re on, when they took them, if they’re supposed to take them….

Are we supposed to send our parents out in the world with a yellow card on a lanyard around their neck? Lists of allergies and conditions and medications tattooed to their arms?

How are we supposed to take care of the people that took care of us?

My Mom can tell you what happened on February 27, 1967.  She can tell you about February 27, 1981.  But I don’t think she can recall much of February 27, 2019. My Mother and Daughter are huge Broadway fans, and my Mom was getting them tickets to a show.  My daughter gave her five dates that she DEFINATLY could go, and one date that she COULD NOT go.  You know my Mom bought tickets for the day my daughter couldn’t go…

My Mom is one of those no list/no planner type of people.  She has always relied on her actually quite excellent memory.  But guess what? Her memory is not quite the absorbent sponge that it once was- it’s dry now, and she refuses to do anything to help.  She won’t write things down.  She won’t set reminders.

How am I supposed to explain to her that she needs to help herself a little bit?

We have all established that we relish our independence. We want to go down swinging. And we really don’t want to ask our children for help. They’re our kids: we raised them: what do they know about taking care of us.

If we let our children care for us, we cease being parents. We become the parented. Who wants to accept that reality?

So…..

How do you get your parents to accept help and guidance? How do you tactfully explain that you aren’t trying to ruin their lives, you’re just trying to make their lives better. How do you deal with your parents acting like teenagers who just don’t want to listen?

How do we help the people we love most in the world?

 

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May/December

My Husband is four and a half years younger than me. Feel free to call me Cougar. I own that title. After you read this you may have some other things you want to call me. Hypocrite. Ageist. I own those titles too.

A few weeks ago I was reading Modern Love (yes- two weeks in a row that the NY Times gave me fodder for my blog) This particular essay was written by a women who I think was 82.  She was talking about the 50something man that was pursuing her.

I cry foul.

I cry foul loudly.

First off- this is actually a plot on “Grace and Frankie”. 80+ Grace begins a courtship with a 50something guy. Now I admit, Jane Fonda looks better at 80+ then I look at 50+. And Peter Gallagher is rather attractive.  But realistically….I know.  you’re going to tell me they have chemistry. You’re going to tell me they have commonality. And I’m going to say nothing makes up for an age gap of 25+ years.

I’m sorry. No matter what anyone says, I just can’t see a relationship where one person is significantly younger than the other. And this goes for either sex. Or same sex for that matter. There are just generational differences that you can’t get past. I even see some issues with my Husband and our slight age difference. When we met I really enjoyed going out all the time, bars, fancy restaurants, things that were “in”. Now, I still like to go out, but it is much more cerebral. I do not want to go out every night. I’m fine sitting home and reading five nights a week, and maybe a night out with friends or a cultural event the other days. My Husband could go out every night if given the opportunity. I’ve mellowed as I’ve gotten older. He hasn’t gotten there yet.

Then there are the physical differences. I remember waking up one day a little past my 50th birthday (hence the title) and it took a few minutes to get my body unkinked. I walk slower now (OK- I still walk faster than most non New Yorkers- but my pace has slowed) My Husband is still spry.  Well mainly…He twisted his back a few months ago (right around age 50) and it took him awhile to feel better. And I was oddly happy that he did this, because he hurt it doing something routine, and all I could think was “Good. Now he sees how things have been for me. he sees how easy it is to hurt yourself and how long it takes to feel better.”

Now, I know we all know people of a certain age who have much more energy than kids in their twenties. I know that there are many, many vibrant seniors. But really, the age difference is something. It might not bother you at year one of a relationship, but it could bother you at year five. Because in most cases, the gap will matter. I don’t know how much you can love someone to conquer a 25 year age difference.

And…I know I’m a horrible, cliched person, but whenever I hear about a relationship with a big age difference I can’t help but think “Hmmm…how much money does the older person have?” Am I cynical, or am I just pragmatic? If a 25 year old guy professed his love for me I would TOTALLY question his motives, just as I question it when an 80 year old guy chats me up now. (because that’s the actual scenario- if I’m cruising the stacks at Barnes and Noble I am much more likely to be the conversational target of an 80 year old as opposed to a 25 year old) If a 50 year old man was interested in my 17 year old daughter, can you imagine what I would say to that…

I’m not saying that a relationship with a large age difference can’t exist. I’m just saying it’s a pretty tall order to think that either party is truly attracted to the other.  I might be a hot 54 year old, but really….I don’t want to stand next to a 25 year old in good lighting…And in all seriousness- I might think young guys are cute, but cute in the puppy dog way. If I do notice a guy I think is attractive he’s more than likely to be in the AARP card receiving age…

And lets talk about interests. I hear twenty somethings talking in coffee shops and such. There is no way I could maintain a level of interest in the majority of things I have heard discussed. I can have friendships with younger people, but an intimate one on one relationship? There isn’t enough avocado toast in the world to get me through that. I would always feels like a Mom, dispensing advice and hard candy with fuzzies on it from sitting on the bottom of my purse.

So…lets open it up to the floor: What do we think about May/December romances and relationships?

Discuss!!

 

 

It Could Happen to You

When I started this blog, I wrote about a neighbor in my building. K was sort of my hero: after she retired from a fulfilling career, she embarked on filling out her bucket list. She did some stand up comedy, wrote a book, raised money for organizations that were important to her, vowed to never leave the city that energized her. And I told you that she was beginning to forget things, how her family got her a home aide worker to assist her.

Over a year later, I see that her quality of life decreased.  A few weeks ago my daughter entered the apartment saying- “Do you know there are police in the lobby?” Turns out that K had called the police on her aide worker- she claimed that someone had broken into her apartment. She didn’t recognize the woman that had been with her all this time.

Another retired neighbor had a fall last year. The fall itself wasn’t too bad as far as falls go- she went to the Doctor and apart from some bruises she was fine. Except that fall seemed to break her in other ways. This once robust, vital woman seemed to shrivel as time went by.  Last month she fell again, this time in her apartment. Her friend had tried repeatedly to reach her by phone, and when she didn’t hear back, the friend called the doorman, who went into the apartment. S had been on the floor for twelve hours, unable to move or get to her phone. She was taken to the hospital where they discovered she has pneumonia.  After a stay there, she was moved to a facility where she can recuperate. They have no idea when she will be well enough to return home. She was in the process of selling her apartment and buying a new place in Florida. Those dreams are on hold now, and perhaps forever.

I remember a time in the not so distant past when I made fun of those devices that you wear- the “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up” things. Now I’m considering buying them in bulk for everyone I know.

I worry that my Father will fall and my Mother will try to help him and she will fall as well.  The other day I called my neighbor who is in her seventies. As she normally responds back to me within a few hours, I got nervous when Friday turned into Saturday and I hadn’t heard from her. I actually asked the doorman if he had seen her. (it turns out she went to Jersey to spend the day with her niece and she refuses to keep her cell phone on….)

But you get the idea…

As we get older, our bodies and minds will change. Like it or not, someone will need to keep an eye out on us. As independent people, this is going to be a hard change. I don’t like the idea of someone needing to check in on me. But I fear it’s inevitable. The women who fell in our building- this wasn’t the first time this happened to one of my neighbors. And I know it will not be the last time either.

As much as it pains me to think that I might need to rely on someone else, I can’t help but worry- what if there is no one around? And I don’t just mean for me.  My next door neighbor is completely anti social (we jokingly call her witness protection) I’ve lived next door to her for nineteen years- she has never had anyone come to visit her. She works from home and doesn’t go out much. Would anyone know if she fell? If she was hurt?

I accept the wisdom that comes with age. I accept the wrinkles and the grey hair. And I must accept that there are things that even I can’t control, things that no list or organizational tool can stop. Our bodies and minds will not be as supple as they are now. No matter what we do, time marches on, and begins to march over us.

Aging…Yeah

When your blog title hints that there may be challenges when you go upwards of 50, you know eventually it will actually talk about aging. So here you go…

A few weeks ago I got a cold.  Just a cold. Common, if you will.  A little post nasal drip, stuffy head, raspy sounding throat.  No fever. No flu. Just a cold.

And yet, it took two weeks and counting (as I still keep a tissue box close at hand) to funnel this cold out of my body. I have trouble sleeping, my nose is still tender, and I get a little tired mid day.

It sucks.

I remember days, days that were not too long ago, where a cold would take me two or three days to get out of my system.  I didn’t even need cold medicine: hot tea with honey and lemon, a little extra sleep…and boom…it was gone.

Now…

Well now- it takes forever.

And the worst part it, I take better care of myself now. I sleep more.  I eat better. I do all the things that you are supposed to in order to be healthy. But I still get colds, and they linger.

I got the cold from my daughter. She had a few sneezes and sneezed the cold right out- didn’t miss a day of school or any activity. She barely slowed a step. And I was the big lout that was laying on the couch watching mystery reruns and drinking concoctions with lemon and vinegar and ginger, single handedly keeping the aloe lotion tissues companies in business.

I don’t like this. I don’t like colds.  I don’t like nursing them.  I don’t like getting older. I want my old body back, my energy, my immune system.

But it’s not coming back.  All I can do is maintain what I have. And that appears to be an uphill battle. I spend more time taking care of myself then ever before, but it appears I’m not doing enough. But what is enough? Wrapping myself in bubble wrap? Bathing in hand sanitizer? Inoculating myself against everything?

Today I whine a little.  I rethink the Gaga/Cooper performance from the Oscar’s (OK- that makes me feel really. really young) and I blow my nose for the millionth time. I know I’m 99% better, but still… there’s a new world order racing through my body, and I have to deal with it.

I don’t want to, but I must.

Adapt or…..

 

The Highlights:

:As part of my journey towards calm and mindful, I am trying to be aware of all the high points that are in my days.  It’s sort of like being grateful and sort of like recapping what I did throughout the week.

Sunday

  1. Warhol exhibit at the Whitney- I appreciate his take on art and what he accomplished. (pics on my Instra- lawakinguponthewrongsideof 50
  2. My husband and I are on a ramen hunt: We are attempting to try as many ramen restaurants that appeared on Thrillist’s best of ramen list.  We tried Mokabar which is a Korean/Japanese ramen hybrid.  Very tasty.
  3. While walking down a street a bicyclist went by, blaring Edith Piaf from his portable speaker

Monday

  1. Oscar Nominated Short films- though highlight is a little bit wrong, because these films were a little depressing
  2. Popcorn with real butter
  3. Looking at planner spreads- yes- I love finding great planner ideas on Pinterest

Tuesday

  1. Seeing “Be More Chill” on Broadway
  2. Having a great Mom/Daughter date
  3. Delicious burger with gruyere and Dijon

Wednesday

  1. Going to City Bakery for Hot Chocolate Month
  2. organizing my bedroom shelves

Thursday

  1. Found a delicious new Danish bakery in my neighborhood. And no, we did not have Danish…
  2. Warm enough weather, and finally feeling a little better- took a walk to the park with my dog

Friday

  1. 20$ in coupons towards my new sneakers
  2. Delicious chocolate pretzel thing shared with my daughter

Saturday

  1. I remember my love for the Monkees. RIP Peter Tork.  While his passing is not a highlight, my memories of their music is.
  2. My friend got a much deserved promotion
  3. Finished “The Red Address Book”. While I can’t recommend this book to anyone, it did have an interesting hook, and it’s another book towards my goal of 50
  4. Saw “Shoplifters” (nominee best foreign language) While it was my least favorite of the foreign nominees, it was still a good movie
  5. My Husband arrived safely to his ski destination

Gratitude and Calm 2/23

On the often rocky road to being grateful and calming my mind…and believe me…there were times this week… But here we go:

Gratitude

  1. I found the perfect coat- knee length, black, medium weight, water resistant, zipper, hood.  On sale!!!
  2. Art exhibits that make me smile or think or whatever
  3. Sunshine
  4. My daughter won a scholastic silver key for her poem
  5. My honey guy was at the Farmer’s Market the other day
  6. Found a cab quickly the other night when it was late and chilly and I wanted to get home
  7. It wasn’t too cold when I was waiting for my daughter to get autographs after a show the other night
  8. I’m slowly starting to get my energy back
  9. Quality time with my daughter
  10. Not killing my husband when he was packing for his ski trip

Calm- doing these things instantly calms me

  1. hot tea with sugar
  2. nap because I didn’t sleep well because of my cold
  3. writing down list of self care ideas
  4. watching Murder She Wrote reruns (I like the Cabot Cove ones)
  5. getting errands done quickly
  6. cleaning out drawers
  7. reading

So What Does All This Really Mean?

Some of my friends are extroverts, while some are introverts (to be fair, more of my friends are probably extroverts) Some are sensors, while others are intuits, some thinkers, and others….you get the idea. My friends are my friends because they are good, kind people who would do anything for me (including take this test when I ask) There’s no science or logic as to why certain people are in my life while others are not. It just is.

But….I know instinctively which of my friends are feelers vs thinkers- and I know why I argue with these friends all the time. Some of my friends base everything on emotion and then they wonder why they get hurt emotionally all the time, and I yell that they keep making the same mistakes…..Maybe I should consider how they think when I talk to them because they will probably respond  better to an approach other than me saying “OMG-how stupid could you be? You did the same thing last time?”

And I admit I could never be married to a prospector (one who is relaxed and doesn’t plan) I NEED a plan. I get edgy and out of sorts if I don’t have a plan. But I don’t need a test to know who is more laid back than me: I would get that on the second date when I ask “What are we doing?” and he says dinner at a nice place, and I show up dressed for that, and then my date says- “We’re going on a bike ride instead” and I can’t recover from the fact that I’m in a nice dress and heels.  Obviously, a prospector would never date me either…

And I see how my particular traits show up in other areas of my life. My obsession with planners and lists. My relatively boring, scheduled life. My ability to talk any topic to death. Hating parties and the majority of social gatherings. Wanting to read more realistic novels as opposed to fantasies, my almost pathological need for movies to have unhappy endings…..A test doesn’t tell me these things: how I lead my life does.

So with anything, 16 personalities is just a snap shot- one way to help you become more aware. And I am all about becoming more aware of myself.  I think self awareness brings more happiness and peace: I think knowing who you are, what you like, and what your limits are help you make better decisions about everything. I think being aware of the type of people that your friends and partners are helps you have a better relationship with them, because you can tailor how to approach them when there’s an issue.

Did I learn anything new this week? Not really.  But it gave me some “why’s”. And that’s enough for me.

 

Hi: I’m LA and I’m an ISTJ-A

“All other types need not apply.”

That’s what a lot of you are afraid of, isn’t it? That once you know a little bit about personality traits you will start basing all your decisions on it? That you will snap judge that if someone is X type you can’t be friends with them, or they won’t be friends with you?

Are you afraid of judging based on one criteria alone?

I get that. I really do.

But I want you to think about this: do you meet everyone with an equal open mind? All the time?

As bloggers, we often find ourselves having people follow us.  Have you ever said “Why would a person of A age, who lives in B, and enjoys C like my blog?”

Now, I know that there are people who will just follow anyone in hopes of being followed back, so we’re always wary.  But isn’t being wary judging?

Have you gone on a date with every person that asked you?

Have you talked to every single person who has ever started a conversation with you?

Have you ever seen someone and made a judgement about them? Seriously- have you ever decided you did or didn’t like someone based solely on looks or what they wore?

If you have ever done any of these things, haven’t you pretty much based a decision on one thing only?

We were in Utah on vacation once, and we went to a show.  The MC asked where people were from, and we were the only New Yorkers, and from the city no less.  Let’s just say, we were not the most popular people at that rodeo.  We were judged solely on the geographic location where we chose to live.

I don’t know.  I’d rather not be liked cause I’m an ISTJ-A.  At least you can quantify a personality trait that you don’t like, then just a look or a feeling.

And what about the whole introvert thing. Even without taking a Myers Briggs, most people can peg an introvert.  And I’m betting most introverts have heard the following at school. “You really need to participate more.” Because apparently extroverts are smarter… I recently had a conversation with a friend.  He told me it “wasn’t good” that my daughter was an introvert, because apparently she’ll never succeed in life. Hmmm. I don’t need to know what combo of letters he is to know that I don’t want to talk to him.

So here’s the thing.  I don’t think you should introduce yourself saying your letters. That’s just silly.  But don’t be surprised if people see these qualities in you anyway. Don’t you think that there are people that don’t like me because I come across as a know it all? Because I express my opinions unequivocally? Because I take a stand and defend it? They are never going to give me a chance because they don’t like that one trait….

ISTJ-A and…

The whole reason I really started overthinking this topic was due to an article I read talking about how maybe you can determine compatibility based on your type. I’m always trying to find a reason, the why, so this was an avenue I wanted to travel down for just a little while.  So what have I seen?

My Husband is an ISFJ-A, so we are just separated by one letter. I was actually surprised that my husband registered as an introvert. He really thrives on being around others, and likes to surround himself with people. He does not do well by himself. The fact that he presents as an extrovert is probably the most difficult hill our relationship has to weather because I’m much more of a loner. Not surprisingly, when I looked at his breakdown, he was 51%in/49% ex- . Hmmmm.

Outside of the whole he wants people I don’t thing, our relationship is fairly calm.  We don’t have big fights, we get along reasonably well.  Could it be because we our types are so similar? Because we think the same way about most things? Is our one real opposite the most we need for “opposites attract”? I’m a thinker (and I think I was over 70% thinker) and he’s a feeler- would we continually fight if we both were too logical in our arguments? Or both too feeling?

Now according to http://www.thepersonalitypage.com the perfect partner for an ISTJ would be an ESFP. Why? Apparently, the thing I really need is a partner who is an extrovert. The natural traits of an ISTJ lead me to be stingy showing feelings (true). They tend to be more concerned with the physical in regards to intimacy, as opposed to the, you know, intimacy (alas, also true) And ISTJ’s are very respectful of the feelings of others, so would thrive with a feeling partner.

Logically, this all makes sense to me.  Theoretically, this personality type would be a great match.  But we all know that relationships are much more than a match on paper. Most people (apparently not me) have feelings.  And feelings are the most important thing in a relationship. But- I am going to overthink this for a bit.

Now what about parenting? My daughter is exactly the same as me- ISTJ-A. Could the reason I have had a really easy time parenting (knock wood because she doesn’t leave the house for five months) be because we are the same personality? Do I parent her as I would react in a certain situation and she intrinsically gets it because she thinks the same way? I mean, I would like to say that I am a perfect parent, but I know I’m not. But…the parenting road has been smooth…I don’t know.  I have to at least consider it.

So what does this all mean? I have no idea. But I will say that I am learning a lot about myself during this process. I am starting to guess the types of those around me, and why I’m attracted, or repelled by certain personalities. Do I think that this should be part of a dating profile? No.  Not at all. But I would be interested in seeing the results of the people I consider to be happily married/partnered. I would like to see how they balance one another out.

Time to overthink some more…

 

ISTJ-A Find Out What it Means For Me

Ok- so I threw some letters at you.  What do they mean? Are they even me? Do I see myself as I really am, or is it better for someone to take the test for me? Questions- questions- questions…. Do I have any answers- answers- answers?

I.  Introvert.  I am clearly an introvert.  Others often disagree with this assessment of me because I can be talkative and opinionated and loud. I am a pretty decent public speaker. And while I can be all those things, I do not love being in social situations.  I don’t introduce myself to others (I’m the person in the corner of a room making snarky mind judgements of everyone at a party, but not actually talking to anyone) I prefer being alone 90% of the time and I am rarely lonely.

If you’re not an introvert, you are an extrovert.  You enjoy being in social situations on thrive on relationships and spending time with others. You like and can hold the attention of the room.

Not surprisingly, as of now all of my blogger friends are introverts.  You get that, writers are not shy, they just show there emotions via the written word.  And, as of now, the vast majority of my friends are also introverts.

S- Sensing.  (The insights for this section were gleamed from http://www.aconsciousrethink.com) Sensors use their senses to ascertain what is going on in the world, and how to respond to it.  They take value in information and obtain as much as possible before they make a decision about anything.

Gee.  Can you imagine me a sensor?….OK- In the world of anything, there is no trait that can be more closely associated with me. You all know this!  I wrote a blog last week about how I want to see the proof of love!  I mean really- is there anyone that questions things, or seeks to find answers more than me? My whole blog is based on me asking questions and trying to answer them.  Yes.  Myers-Briggs is completely correct in this assertion.

If you are not a sensor then you are an N- intuition. People who rely on their intuition tend to get a “feel” for something- they don’t necessarily need the facts- they use their internal barometer.  They are not detail kind of people- more big picture. They are dreamers.

T- Thinking (the info from this section comes from http://www.16personalities.com) Thinkers are logical and rational.  hmmm.  Can we say dead on to my personality? I think with my head, not my heart (remember the blog about proof of love?) And…they safeguard their emotions.  Ummm….didn’t I write about how I never let anyone in?

If you are not T you are an F- feeling.  People with this trait follow their hearts.  They rely on emotion.  They are emotive and open to sharing their feelings.

J- Judging (info for this section from http://www.16personalities.com) People who fall into this category are not loosey goosey.  They come up with a plan and stick to it. They like clarity and closure.  Again- this is clearly me.  I am structured. I make a plan and I stick to it.  I make contingency plans. I don’t wing it. You all know I have a power point for vacations.

If you are not a J, you are a P- Prospecting. The people who fall into this group are flexible and relaxed. They are good when situations don’t go as planned, and like keeping their options open.

A- Assertive (www.16personalities.com) Self assured, even tempered and resistant to stress. Yes. I am self assured, though maybe not so even tempered and stress free,  But- I do admit that I am great in a crisis.  I think quickly and stick to my decisions.  I do consciously look at both sides of a situation before I pronounce judgement. A types are also not worriers and don’t reflect on the past too much.  When I really look at myself, I admit I may have fears, but I am not up at night worrying.  I do not dwell on the past. While at first I wasn’t sure about this assessment, the more I think about it the more I feel it’s correct.

T- Turbulent. Self conscious and sensitive to stress. Have a wide range of emotions, success driven, perfectionists and eager to improve.

My conclusions?  With regards to myself, Myers-Briggs nailed my personality on the first four categories.  I mean absolutely dead on.  They only one I am a slight bit iffy on is the last one, but I think if I went back and scanned my percentages, I would probably be close to 50/50 in this section.

What does this mean in terms of other things? Don’t worry.  There are three more days this week…