In May, I linked to a post on the educated grandparent blog--a post that talked about the need for those of us who are retiring from our jobs and work-day careers to make sure we develop our own interests and not live our lives through our grown children and grandchildren. No sooner had I read through the post on the issue than I came across this "Ask Amy" column in a newspaper. In the second question in the column, a daughter complains about a mother who is driving her nuts with constant calling, text messaging and emails. "She is retired (in her 60s) and extremely bored," the letter writer notes. "She sits online all day and sends me about 10 emails a day with ideas for my career, endless news articles and forwards."
Yes, just what the educated grandparent blog warned about. And with some hint at what happens when we don't get a grip on our life. The daughter writes that she is becoming "more detached from her [mother] because she is suffocating me with the bombardment of emails, texts and phone calls."
Amy's last word to the daughter is this reminder: Her parent's life is her parent's responsibility.
No one said it would be easy to step back from our children's lives--and especially not when we are no longer engaged in our careers, interacting with friends at work and feeling in control of a busy, active life. It's just that smother love is no answer to one of life's biggest adjustments, which is what retirement is. Our children don't want to be our cause. It may be easy to send emails and text messages--to show our progeny how well we can keep up with their interests and needs. We may think we're showing interest in them but they may take it as a busy-body like bombardment. Some 20 years ago, when we were annoyed at someone's mixing too personally into our business, we would shoot out a popular admonition: "Get a Life." Still holds true today.