You know how important family is. You see it on TV, hear about it in songs, and feel it every time you are with those that are close to you. You want to make the most of every opportunity when there are times that family or those that are close to you are together. Especially as you age, this becomes one of life’s joys that you do not want to miss. To see everyone interact and enjoy the company and comradery is special and makes you smile, inside and out.
So, for example, when the daughters and daughters-in-law, or sons and sons-in-law are getting together with their kids, and you are asked if you want to attend, the first, knee-jerk reaction, is “of course, wouldn’t want to miss it for anything”! And of course you wouldn’t. But step back and realize something much more important than your attendance, and your resulting enjoyment, is occurring. They are bonding and enjoying their time without your weight, thoughts, or any impact from your presence. Humbling. But this stepping back, letting them do their own thing, talk about what is important to them, share stories about the kids or spouses that you may not want to hear, is an important component of THEIR growth. Again, humbling, but would you want it any other way? You do bring a weight, a burden to please, a required temperament that, for their sake, should not always have to be considered.
Finding the Right Time For Family
Distance can minimize these get together occurrences, or if they do occur without your attendance, make them more painful. But understanding the importance of “stepping back” and how it will help those close to you grow and bond with others who will be important in their lives going forward, is a testament to your understanding and your humility. Let them do their own thing. Encourage it! They will realize and appreciate your decision and assurance. You are helping to build bonds and family relationships that will last a very long time.
In Designed Retirements, as part of your plan, we ask you to develop goals for yourself for Those That Are Close to You. Why not consider Stepping Back as a goal? The knee-jerk, again, would to have as many moments as possible with those close. But also consider their growth without your weight or ideas on how it should be, or used to be. They exist in a different world with new pressures, new technology, and new desires. Let them grow in their own manner and always offer encouragement or help, but also understand that they also need peer time to vent and seek counsel on their own terms. This time is as important to them as it was to you in your development years.
Stepping back is hard, and you are always there for those close, but they also need space to grow and sometimes, humility may be the better call.