It can be exhausting! I had an obviously unrealistic and delusional idea that being 50-ish would mean being an empty-nester. After over 30 years of marriage I had the impression that it would be time for my husband and I to take long weekends to the mountains or the beach (I love them both) and sit down with a good book and just relax. I will always remember our week-long stay in a cabin in the woods. This was my 50th birthday gift. We walked out on the deck to watch the deer, took walks to the lake, went to the pool and contemplated going horseback riding.
Ha! What was I thinking? I’m approaching mid 50’s and I now have a six year old grandchild and our youngest living at home. And, although my parents are in good health for their age (80-ish), I am also tasked with helping them through experiences that they never imagined. (And, we haven’t had to deal with any health issues yet.)
I’m going to just say it…the Sandwich Generation sucks. Don’t read this the wrong way. I love them all. This includes my kids, grandkids (now at four), my parents and most of all my husband of 32 years. But, at this age I didn’t think that I would have to worry about having a babysitter in order for us to go out to the movies. Am I being selfish? Sometimes I think so…but maybe not.
What I am doing is finding a way to handle it all. How do I do this? Sometimes it ain’t easy! Oh, and did I mentioned that I also launched a new company just three months ago too?
I thought that I would share my key to my sanity with you. As a Professional Organizer I have worked with a lot of people who have had life situations come up that have just stopped them dead in their tracks. The unexpected demand from parents (because that is the right thing to do…we take care of our parents), the unexpected demand of children (because we are their guiding force) and our grandchildren – well, they just make you smile when you need it the most. And that doesn’t include a lot of other situations that I have not experienced such as death and divorce.
My key to sanity:
1. A good friend who is an awesome therapist and allows me to bounce ideas, thoughts and emotions off of her. She is non-judgmental. She keeps my reality real and most of all, she shared this phrase with me...’not my circus, not my monkey.' Remember what is my responsibility and release what is not my responsibility.
2. Communication is required. Regardless of what I have going on, no one is actually reading my mind to know that I am overwhelmed. When that happens, I have to ask for help (and I do.)Everything is not my responsibility. (And, I am ok with others knowing how to do things around the office and house!)
3. Taking time to rest. It may be in the middle of the day (with a quick 15 minute nap). Rest may come by taking a walk around the block and sometimes it is something as simple as sitting on the front porch and watching the sun come up. That last one just starts my day off right.
And last, but definitely not the least, I do feel good about the fact that I get to help so many generations! Hopefully someone will remember me when I need help – but I’ll cross that bridge when I get to it. No reason to stress about that yet.
Here’s to an awesome day filled with love and happiness – and helping others.