Whatever happened to the so-called “freedom” of retirement years? Not only do I still have to work part-time to keep afloat financially, but I’m overwhelmed with “grandparent duties.”
My friends are in the same busy and crowded boat. Our kids married much later than we did, and quickly produced kids, before it was too late.
In their mid-30’s, many are two-income couples mortgaged to their eyeballs, so they want/need help with babysitting, day care pick-ups, co-signing loans, and constant family involvement. I’m exhausted! And not getting to the travel and tranquility I’d expected.
Am I wrong to say no, sometimes?
- Torn Between Generations
You can’t choose your era, but you CAN choose your responses, both positive and negative.
Yes #1: Many adult children start their families in their 30s. It’s a reaction to their times, which encouraged pursuing an education towards a career, plus years of independent living before marriage. The divorce rate and the high cost of owning a home also had them both scared and stalling for an opportune time to settle down.
Yes #2: They do want/need any help they can get. Most grandparents who waited long to see who will carry on their legacy of talents and traits, are eager to be part of the youngsters’ lives.
Yes #3: It does involve a return to the unmissed task of changing diapers, and being on call to the timetables of another household. In exchange, there’s the misty-eyed reward of impossibly soft hugs, wet, sticky kisses, and some garbled version of “I lub you.”
NO, you’re not wrong to protect your energy and make sure you’re not building more resentment than joy. Do what you can, and plan a balance of how you spend your “free” time.
I was married for a few years, dated random guys awhile, and then met my same-sex partner. We had an instant connection and now have a great life, together for four years.
We’re both working, financially responsible, bought a small home together, and have many common interests, such as a love of classical music, and watching or playing certain sports.
My problem is my father, who keeps waiting for me to “change back” and find another husband. He thinks being a lesbian is only a phase with me, so he behaves distant with my partner and shows no interest in her at all. Yet I still love my father.
How can I get him to accept us as a couple?
- Cold Pop
Educate Dad. On specifics: Say that you love him and understand that it’s because he loves you that he’s anxious about your relationship. But his negativity towards your chosen mate is building roadblocks between you and him, which isn’t what he’s after.
Talk to him about your happy life. Instead of “pushing” for him to like your partner, tell him about some of the enjoyable interests you share, and invite him to accompany you both to a concert, or a sports event. He needs to get to know you as a couple, not just as a concept that confuses him.
On general information: Tell him about PFLAG (Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays), an organization offering resources, and local meetings with parents like him, who are learning to accept their children’s sexuality.
I also recommend getting him the book, Is It A Choice? by Eric Marcus, with answers to 300 of the most frequently asked questions about gay and lesbian people.
I’m a shy person who inwardly fears meeting new people; I have reasons from my past for not trusting easily. I’m comfortable with this part of my personality (thanks to therapy and an understanding partner).
However, I’m in a service industry and often work with clients I’ve not met before. Because I hold back at first, some of them assume that I’m arrogant, or dismissive. It can affect my business, and it also hurts my feelings because it isn’t true.
How do I handle this wrong image of me without changing “me?”
- Cool Impression
Do the reporter’s trick, and ask the questions. Since most people love talking about themselves, they’ll automatically assume you’re a warm, interested person, even though you haven’t given away much about yourself.
It’ll be helpful in your work with new people, and may also improve your “trust factor,” once you realize that people aren’t always judging, just chatting.
Tip of the day:
Freedom 55 was an ad campaign, not a promise; it’s up to you to balance “grandparent duties” with relaxation.