Firebirdlifecoach's Blog

Pursuing a Passionate Life

Bridging the Great Divide March 2, 2010

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Remember when we were on the young side of the generation gap? I do and I can swear it was just a couple of weeks ago, wasn’t it? Somehow despite all my protestations to the contrary I seemed to have slipped over to the other side lately. What happened? In some ways it seems like only yesterday but I have a feeling it’s been creeping up on me for a long time. My mom, who I used to see as “the adult” is now pushing 85 and most definitely in the older adult category these days. My children who were once innocent babies are now growing into young men (well, they’re teenagers anyway – so that’s headed in the right direction at least.) And I am in my late 40’s – squarely planted in my grown-up world with all of the trappings and responsibilities of adulthood around me.

Yesterday, I was driving my son to school when he made the comment, “Mom, do you even remember what it was like to be young?” Ouch! It may not be crystal clear but I am trying.  I am trying very hard to remember that time in my life when all I really wanted was to hang-out with my friends, away from school and the outdated notions of what my parents thought would be a good use of my time. I thought somehow that I would escape the great divide but I am afraid it’s here all the same.

So now the new challenge begins – to view my children’s experience with an open mind while still establishing the parameters that from my vantage point feel necessary and important. As I am often reminded, my primary function of instilling values in my children and giving them the tools that they need to function in the world is mostly done. Now it is becoming their turn, to take what they have learned and go out into the world to see what they can make of it. It is hard – my impulse to hover is strong, but my wish to see them continue to become the wonderful, independent young men that they are is stronger. My hope is that we can ride through these next years with a mutual respect and understanding that will position us in the future to have close relationships that continue to grow and strengthen.

 

The Change Game February 10, 2010

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A few months ago, my mother sold the house that she has lived in for 56 years and moved into a senior living community in a new town, closer to my siblings (and me). It was a big move and a big deal, but despite a couple of bumps along the way it has gone rather smoothly. Now in her mid-80’s my mother is creating a new life for herself; new town, new living arrangements, new routines, new friends, new everything. The furniture is the same (though scaled back) but everything else is new. It’s about as a big a life transition as you can make, and it is going amazingly well.

Thanks to the efforts and support she receives from my siblings who live near my mom is adjusting beautifully. Oh it’s not all flowers and sunshine, there are hiccups here and there but really, for the most part it has been seamless. Not necessarily something that any of us were sure of but certainly what all of us had hoped for. My mother is a devout woman and thusly she credits her success to “a miracle” that she has been able to make the move in such a stress free way. I don’t see things quite the same way, nonetheless the result is the same.

Sometimes in life we are faced with challenges and changes so big – that it is hard to imagine how we will react to them or if in fact, we can handle them at all. Sometimes the path to our new life is fraught with parallels and obstacles, and sometimes it is more open and clear. Not all transitions go smoothly for all people. But more often than not I think we underestimate our resilience. Maybe it is some genetic throw-back to the unpredictable life circumstances of our ancestors or maybe it is simple adaptation. But inside of each of us is a wealth of resources and strengths to draw from, some long dormant but still present, all the same.

Getting through life with all the challenges we face in today’s unpredictable climate is no cake walk but most of us will get through it relatively unscathed. The one thing we can count on happening tomorrow is that we cannot be certain of how it will go. Finding that faith inside you whether it is in a higher power as in the instance of my mother, in the help, support and goodwill of others in our lives or in the skills and abilities we own ourselves is the key. Remembering that we will manage and hopefully thrive as we move forward is the message to hold on to.