When my grandma can’t walk anymore, she started screaming at everyone, partially due to the frustration, partially because she feel her children will come to her rescue. She is 92 years old, she used to be independent and was a woman way ahead of her time. She had proper eduction, she had a career as a teacher. After retirement, she even travelled to different countries, She put effort to join dance classes, tai chi classes and even after 80 years old, she still go out for a walk on her on every morning. Suddenly, she “lose” that independence.
One day while waiting for my friend to pick me up to work, my mum sitting by the window, looking out at parents sending their children to the school opposite my house, announced, “I was once like them. I was so pre-occupied with children and everyday life, I never imagine myself one day I will be old and will need assistance.”
When we were little, we depend on our parents, we even look up to them. As we grew up, we tried to be independent as much as possible. We set to achieve what we want to achieve and just generally are able to handle things. We are told to save for retirement but less on mental preparation that one day we need to be “assisted”.
The society “imposed” a certain expectation of being a parents. These past years, I learned that if we mess up, our parents too messed up. I feel learning to accept them as “imperfect” makes me appreciate them more. I always hear people complaining about ageing parents, my mum or dad doesn’t follow the diet they should, they are not taking their medication, they are this and that. Maybe now we are healthy, we tried keeping ourselves healthy so we aged gracefully. What makes life unique, is the imperfection in a “perfect” world. Being able to accept parents as any adults helps us to be able to assist our parents better. If you feel the frustration of “nagging” them, they too are frustrated that they can’t be independent. Most importantly, accepting parents as any human beings is the starting point of us opening up to prepare for old age, both physically and mentally.
One day, we will be old.