Please say it isn't so...
Have you seen that insurance commercial
where the guy worries he's becoming his
mother? Stranger things have happened.
At this point in life I frequently freak out
when I emulate my parent's quirks. Yet for
many reasons I know that I am not alone.
Thus it seems that at least for most of us -
we all become a reflection of who and how
we were raised. That doesn't mean that soon
I'll be wearing an organdy apron and pearls.
Rather it's indication that all of us are in the
midst of endless recycling. A full circle ride
where we all come to the same conclusion.
While I deeply respect my dearly departed
parents - it's highly doubtful that they were
much smarter from the rest. Nor that in truth
they came to any illumination dramatically
different than the balance of their peers. In
truth experience is a group effort. Thus each
generation goes through the same collective
cycle together. And as said subset ages - they
finally put the pieces together. And then... die.
During said process those who immediately
follow suddenly discover that their parents
are as human as they are. The fact of which
can be either redemptive, punitive, or both.
Time and time again
Far into adult education, my parents had me
later in life. Like any tot I considered all that
they said gospel. Post coming into my own
I shifted to skepticism. Questioning any and
all advice ever given. In part because I now
knew that they weren't perfect. A fact which
frankly pissed me off. Obviously embracing
one's elder's weaknesses can ultimately be
empowering. However only when one finds
they are doing exactly the same things their
folks did for exactly the same reasons. Thus
deja vu not karma is a bitch slap of reality.
And we all know how that story will end...
Ready or not...
Recently I fell. After a few weeks of pain I
had my wrist x-rayed. Post analysis showed
it was not due to a fracture but arthritis. For
many reasons said statement stung. Mostly
because it proved I'm getting OLD. Which
is exactly what happened to my Mother and
Father. Meaning that ultimately, I'll struggle
from maladies far beyond my control. JUST
AS THEY DID. And I don't know about you
but the knowledge that someday I'll end up
in assisted living isn't the stuff that dreams
are made of. But instead such a revelation
is a NIGHTMARE just waiting to happen.
If nothing else - facing the prospect of one's
imminent demise is a wake up call. As we
Boomers age, it's obvious we're not willing
to go down easily. And yet - are we all that
different from our parents? My father retired
"early" at age sixty two. Way back then he
seemed ancient to me. Yet in truth Dad was
about to embark on the best years of his life.
The next decade was filled with satisfaction.
A respite that was more than deserved given
he was later diagnosed with Alzheimer's and
literally "lost it." All of which causes me to
wonder exactly what I'm waiting for?!
Father knew best
For me there is an element of shame in not
working. My parent's depression era work
ethic still influences my frame of mind. Yet
in truth, they both exited their historic ways
and means to redefine themselves later in
life. Which if I'm honest is exactly what
I've been doing the last few years. After
decades of the daily grind, I was perfectly
happy doing nothing. In truth less is more.
Hence a simpler existence sans the wear
and tear of the corporate world seems to
suit me best. Which is the same conclusion
my Dad came to many years before me!
Like father, like son
All of which leads me to the conclusion that I
have become my Father. Which given who he
was and how he lived his life is perfectly fine
with me. History repeats itself. Thus my hope
is that I will somehow influence others in a
positive light. Ultimately the little things are
what matters. Subtle nuances - off handed
compliments - random advice - unsolicited
observations - all of which unintentionally
fuel our individual legacies. As obsolescence
is our ultimate destination, we might as well
enjoy this round trip. And if we end up half as
smart as our parents - then all the BETTER!