Many of us are card carrying members of the “sandwich generation,” simultaneously responsible for meeting the needs of our children (young and grown) and providing care for our aging parents too. Sometimes juggling it all requires a little help from our friends.
According to a 2013 Pew Report, caring for multiple generations seems to be the new “normal.” We’re constantly juggling a range of emotional and financial demands and being pulled in conflicting directions, trying to make time for our partners, our parents, our kids, our spouses, our friends and ourselves, with varying degrees of success.
Over time, our lives have evolved thru a series of predictable and unpredictable transitions, like getting married, becoming parents, or grandparents, parenting our own parents, and helping our kids get into college.
Some of us made more unconventional decisions, choosing to remain childless, or to live on our own. Others were independent for decades, then pivoted and became parents much later in life, adopting children with a partner or alone, or becoming step-parents after marrying for the first or second time.
Each of life’s transitions has upped the ante. Some turning points have been extremely painful, like losing our parents and partners, or getting divorced after years of what appeared to be a perfect marriage. Other changes, like finding a new spouse or partner after a traumatic ending, have brought us enormous joy. Some changes snuck up on us, as we became empty nesters, finding ourselves alone, or alone with our spouses for the first time. Many of us experienced the increased pressure of grown children returning home after finding it hard to support themselves.
Whatever our choices and experiences, we’ve lived, and continue to live, rich, multi-layered lives that have often strayed from the straight and narrow. I’m quite sure my 16 year-old self would be shocked to meet me today, and I’m guessing that holds true for the majority of us. Life has a way of turning out quite differently than we originally planned! Like many older boomers I married my first love while I was still in college. I imagined my husband and I would be retired by now, me from teaching, he from investment banking, with a couple of kids, grandkids, and a big old house in the suburbs. In fact, I divorced in my 20’s, diving head first into the social, political and cultural changes of the 70's. Later, I started a TV production company and became the CEO of new media business, experiencing loving, long-term relationships with wonderful men along the way.
I’m currently a single mom with a teenage daughter, living in a small NY apartment during the week and escaping to my cottage on the bay most weekends. I couldn’t be happier. Deciding to become a mom on my own at 50 turned out to be the perfect path for me.
The majority of us are traveling to the beat of our own drums too, redefining family and partnerships while we fine-tune our relationships overall. Often we’re in sync with friends and colleagues our age, and sometimes we feel adrift, or resonate more strongly with friends in their 30’s….or 80’s.
Here at WHAT NOW WHAT NEXT, we’re banding together to navigate life’s turning points most effectively, sharing stories, strategies and solutions over the course of our ever-evolving relationships with our partners, our parents, our children and our friends.
WNWN's FAMILY MATTERS curates and creates life-enhancing content on a range of topics like dealing with divorce, surviving life with a teenager, enlivening your romantic partnerships, living on your own, living with your adult kids, and planning for your future.
With life expectancy increasing and the 80 plus age group becoming the fastest growing demographic, parent-care issues are, and will continue to be, front and center for many of us. WNWN offers TOOLS to help understand and navigate the eldercare journey more effectively.
Please join our conversations, learn from our guest experts, get advice and give advice. Share your own stories and the strategies and solutions that have worked best for you during life’s key transitions.
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What are the most significant family/relationship issues in your life right now?
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