Help! I’m 50+. I’m the kind of 50+ who is a “50 is the new 40” kind of gal (or so I thought) but who has, somewhere along the way, apparently lost her mojo. Between helping my senior mother downsize and moving two kids out of university rental housing, plus work, a broken dishwasher, training a new pandemic puppy and about a million other little things, I recently lost my will to live. Throw in a pandemic and I threw in the towel …literally yelling “Surrender” about three weeks ago. When was it you might ask that I finally realized my parent was having more fun than me? It was a Friday night, not long ago when my mother (my senior by about 20 years) texted me to say she was going to a “Booze party” on the patio. First of all – she TEXTED me, who knew she could even text and secondly, it was about 7:30pm. I knew I was in terrible trouble when I looked down and realized I was already in my pajamas! What a sad, sad state of affairs when you realize your parents are having more fun than you!

When Your Mom Texts You This…….

I’m not kidding about this recent text exchange. I wish I was. It had been a long week at work, the previous weekend has been spent unloading two apartments worth of student gear (most of which is still piled high in my garage) and we had also just finished painting my son’s former bedroom now turned in to a sitting room/office here at the house. After all, why should I pay for student housing when school is online due to COVID-19? Yes, I know, you’re shaking your head. It all sounded like such a good idea at the time…now I have him , his girlfriend and my other kid who was supposed to move away to start university, all living under my roof for the foreseeable future! Keep in mind, hubby and I had been looking forward to September of 2020 as the start of our “empty-nesters” journey. Instead not only are my original two “kids” here but we somehow gained a third one during lockdown and now she’s not leaving! As I lay on the couch exhausted, wondering how I could afford to feed five adults and work from my new “office” squished into one corner of the dining room, this text from Mum arrives:

  • “Been invited to a booze party with our circle,” it said.
  • “For real,” I asked. Where?”
  • “On our veranda,” she typed, “but if I go I have to bring a cup that looks like a coffee cup!”
  • “Interesting,” I commented and then joked, “Make sure you designate a safe friend to walk you home!”

At that moment, however, I also began to wonder if I was living in an alternate universe. One where time has played a cruel joke and it is no longer me, in my teen years, sneaking out of the house with booze hidden in a backpack but my “elderly” mother describing how she will be hiding her booze in a Tim Hortons travel mug! Talk about an episode of the Twilight Zone! I shared the latest text updates with my kids who thought their grandmother actually sounded kind of cool. Their mother on the other hand, currently lying mostly comatose on the couch in her pj’s – not so much!

What Do Your Senior Years Look Like?

All joking aside, I’m pretty happy Mum has made some new friends in her condo. (For the record, she doesn’t drink either which made this all doubly funny.) She downsized after keeping the family home together as long as she could while battling some pretty heavy stuff that life insisted on throwing at her. What that has meant for me is that I’ve found myself over these last three years supporting both my aging parents and my teenage and young adult children. It’s been quite a ride. As a classic example of the sandwich generation, perhaps your familiar with what I’m talking about? Here we are, close to “seniors” ourselves, but who are also pretty much nothing like the seniors we grew up with. My own grandmother played piano for fun, had permed grey hair by the time she was 55, and wore “sensible” shoes. As I rapidly approach the same age my current hair color includes streaks of a rather loud burgundy, my sensible shoes consist of a slight accommodation for my age in that my 3” heels are now a little on the chunkier side vs. stilettos and what I do for fun includes hiking and kayaking. (And wine. Lots of red wine. If you read paragraph two you’ll know why.)

PJ’s On a Friday Night

The end result of all this recent stress is that my “aging” parent is having more fun than me. These are strange times indeed and not just because of the pandemic. Instead, it seems my Mum is now living the high life and me…….well my heels are in the closet, the kayak hanging in the garage (can’t get to it anyway what with all the student furniture in the way) and I’m on the couch in my PJ’s on a Friday night. Ah well, at least I still have wine.

By Sheralyn Roman