Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Where has the 21st Century Housewife© been?

2nd March 2007

The 21st Century Housewife’s blog has been rather sadly neglected of late as you can see. It is of course my usual excuse of having been away in Canada several times, along with the very busy life we lead (just like everyone else these days!). Of course, Christmas came in between as well, and that is always a busy time for any Professional Housewife.

I have to admit, it is hard helping your parents to move forward through the difficult process of ageing, especially when they are ill. Daily life often becomes a real battle for them and takes them to a place somewhere quite beyond frustration. It is wonderful when you can help and support them on various levels, but of course this is made more difficult by the fact that no matter how old and experienced you actually are, they will still see you as the gawky 12 year old who really had no idea where she was going in life. It is hard to accept advice from a 12 year old (even if she is really much older than that and the label on her moisturiser can prove it!). I have to admit that at times the idea of accepting advice from my son makes me feel very uncomfortable. Having said that, even though he is only 14, my son is very mature and at times does give incredibly good advice, particularly in times of upset and stress.

Having just returned from Canada again (my husband and I went for a long weekend – Friday to Tuesday) I am devastated to see that my parents’ twilight years are not what they had hoped and planned for. It seems terribly unfair that after having worked so hard for so many years a huge proportion of their savings will be spent on a retirement home instead of the travelling they had hoped to do. I am glad that there are such lovely retirement homes in Canada though. The one they have chosen puts me in mind of a hotel it is so beautiful. The suites are spacious and beautifully decorated to your specifications. The menu has six choices at every meal and although I have yet to eat there the smells issuing from the kitchen have been utterly mouth watering. Gourmet evenings and entertainment from award winning performers are on the menu too, along with your own covered parking space and complete freedom to do whatever you choose – or sadly, whatever you can. The staff are kind and accommodating and so far, nothing has been too much trouble, although neither of my parents has actually moved in yet!

It does put me in mind of the old Carpe Diem (Seize the Day) saying though. At times, as a family, we stretch ourselves in terms of time, and sometimes even in terms of finances, to do things we want to do and go places we want to go. I find it hard to regret any of that in the current climate of my parents’ lives. It makes me ever more determined to create a life full of experiences, much more so than a life full of things. This is not to imply that my parents ever created a life full of things. As children of the war years, they were incredibly frugal, but always utterly generous with anyone who needed help of any kind. They often put their dreams on hold though and I wish they had not done that. I do feel a sense of the need to do things now whilst I am fit and well, rather than to wait for the life in the glossy pictures promised me in the advertisements for retirement investments. Now is all any of us really have, and we really do need to seize the day. Although I urge everyone to provide adequately for their retirement, especially if you want to spend it somewhere nice!

I do not mean that in a depressing way, but more in a kind of victorious throw back your shoulders and stand in the wind way. No matter where we are in our lives, no matter what is happening, we truly need to make the most of every moment, even every second. We have to step outside our comfort zone and reject any delay of our dreams, embracing the now whilst facing ourselves firmly in the direction of a positive future. The past is gone, and we cannot waste time lamenting it nor praising ourselves for it. Every moment is a new beginning and it is never over until the fat lady sings. Seize the day and never surrender, that should be every 21st Century Housewife’s mantra!

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