Fear of the inevitable is difficult to overcome, but it can be lived with. So we decide to make a post about how to come to terms with the fact that parents are getting older.
Why are we suddenly hurt by what we already knew?
We are well aware that life is finite. Everyone is born, grows up, grows old, dies. And this is a favourable scenario, because in some cases the life cycle may be shorter due to illness and accidents. But this is theoretical information. You are still young, nothing portends trouble.
Then one day you visit your parents and notice that their face is wrinkled. Their medical records are thicker and their medicine cabinet is bigger. They are doing things more slowly. They ask for your help, not because they feel like the whole family is here, but because they really need it. And they can no longer keep up with your steps.
And you remember just yesterday when you were a baby, moving your legs quickly to keep up with your mum and dad. How young, beautiful and strong they are – I wish I could grow up to be like them. You have your whole life ahead of you and them. But suddenly you realize you’re grown up and there isn’t much of life ahead – at least not the part you’re going to spend together. And you’re gripped by complicated feelings.
These emotions are extremely negative. Unfortunately, they are and will be. Our psyche is very afraid to face these traumatic emotions.
What we experience when we realize our parents are getting older
The human psyche is complex, and different people react differently. But if you measure the response on average, it is likely to be the following feelings.
Fear of loss
This is an obvious emotion. You realize that one day your parents may not be there. You don’t just know it as a biological fact, you are deeply aware of it, and it hurts.
When we talk about loved ones, this fear is inevitable. It lies in the loss of stability. If parents are associated with help and support (which is not always the case, but still), the person will be afraid of losing it. They will also begin to worry about how they will interact with the world without the specific people they are used to.
Fear of death
Our parents getting older reminds us that we are not immortal either. Of course, we all know this, but we are not fully aware of it. When real awareness comes, we begin to worry not only about our loved ones but also about ourselves.
Fear of your own extinction
People in their teens and twenties may live full lives and be active and alert. But this does not negate some age-related factors.
Our parents getting older shows us directly that we are not getting any younger either. It is frightening that we, too, may soon find it difficult to go hiking, that our knees may start to bother us, that we may prefer a warm evening at home to other activities. And that we might not have the energy to do anything.
Fear of losing control
Anxiety can manifest itself in different ways. It ranges from anxiety about not being able to control things to the fear that something will happen and you won’t be able to help. For example, you may not be able to be there for your parent every minute. And even if you can, you can’t protect them from everything.
How to accept that parents are getting older
Don’t take these tips as instructions that are guaranteed to take the worry out of your life. Most likely, it will still be scary and painful from time to time. You may even have to see a psychologist. But we will give you some starting points that will help you to rationalise your fears and relieve them.
Separate in a timely manner
Knowing that your parents are not forever hurt either way. But if you have never separated from them, the fear will be much stronger, because you have not learned to live independently. And it will continue even after they die, so it’s worth getting used to doing without them.
To get through this moment full of conflicting thoughts and emotions more easily, it is enough to understand how firmly we ourselves stand on our own feet, how exactly we can help. Prepare ourselves gradually. To think that our parents have invested as much as they can in us and it is now time for us to take care of them. Thank them for giving us life. Don’t hesitate to talk about your love more often.
More contact with parents
Spending time together becomes a special value. If you can communicate more, build relationship and spend more time together, do it. At least this way, you won’t have a reason to feel bad for not making an effort.
Don’t put off communicating with your parents until tomorrow, do things together that you enjoy. It can be anything, as long as it is fun and enjoyable for everyone.
Helping parents improve their lives
People often spend a lot of inner strength in accepting the unavoidable. They gnaw themselves out from the inside with negative emotions, which do not help anything but severely worsen the quality of life of both themselves and their parents.
It is better to focus efforts on making life easier and longer for parents, to preserve their physical and mental health and to give them positive emotions. This can be done by helping them to get medical check-ups on time and finding ways to maintain their social life.
It is important to remember that parents are not your wards or subordinates. They are adults who make their own decisions. Your vote is advisory.
Accept that you cannot control everything
This is a difficult task, especially if you are used to being in control. But you need to allow yourself to let things go sometimes. This comes in handy in many areas of life.
We are not all-powerful. At some point, we notice that our actions are not very helpful. That is when it gets very sad. So as long as you can help, it’s worth doing it. And then just be there for you.
Planning your own old age
To conquer the fear of getting older, you have to face it head-on. The longer you pretend that it will never affect you, the more painful the encounter with reality will be.
You don’t have to choose a life position at the very end. You can think about it earlier. For example, at 30, you can plan what you want to do at 60. You have the full 30 years to do something in that direction. Stop and periodically engage in an internal dialogue with yourself. Allow yourself to do what you really want to do. To live according to your personal values, to search for yourself.