I love this issue of My Generation magazine! I know I’m biased, but I am also a Boomer and can deeply relate to the stories we are telling in this issue. We are looking at how relationships change and evolve when we get to a certain point in our lives—usually in our 50s. As our expert Erik Olander points out (page 6), there is a shift in perspective on relationships, particularly the one we have with ourselves. Many people our age make changes. We may choose a different work situation, perhaps one that provides deeper meaning for us; we may choose to work less in order to pursue passion more; we may leave a marriage; we may move to a new part of the world. There are so many options, and the 50-plus crowd is likely to consider lots of them.
I, too, have been thinking about all of these things lately—about the most important relationships in my life, how they have changed and seem to be evolving to a new place right now. My husband and I talk constantly about traveling more and how we hope to spend our “retirement” years. Though neither one of us wants to stop working entirely, we are hoping that our work lives will become more flexible in time. Our kids are grown and on their own, and while we have very strong and close relationships with each of them, they no longer rely on us for the day-to-day stuff. Now, our relationships with them are pure fun! Our friends are the people who we choose to spend time with and want to share our lives with—not the large of group of acquaintances that we once had—and the relationships are deeper. Some friends have been with us for most of our lives, some we’ve added later on, but with the feeling that life is short and time is scarce, we have gotten picky about who we spend time with. My husband and I are having fun doing things that we like to do together, but we also enjoy spending time focused on our individual interests. (I’ve never been much of a gear-head, and he doesn’t care too much about the new gardens that pop up every year.)
Some of the changes that occur in our lives are beyond our control. Many of us find ourselves in a place where the relationship we have with our parents, or a parent, is forced to change. Meet Susan Fritts (page 7) who, because of her mom’s struggle with Alzheimer’s disease, has found herself in the role of primary caretaker. Though her mom has moved to a memory care facility, Fritts is entrenched in helping her dad and in finding her way in this new relationship with her parents who are still here, but somehow “gone.” Having lost a parent to Alzheimer’s nine years ago, I understand the feeling of loss, even when your parent is still physically with you.
Cathy Hagerman found herself in the horrible position of needing to redefine and reinforce her relationship with her daughters after losing her son to cancer. Though grieving herself for the loss of her son, as a mom, she was focused on understanding the loss that her daughters felt and committed herself to helping them find joy and happiness in their lives. Through this, the relationship with her kids, though different, has become stronger. Read her story on page 12.
I hope you enjoy this issue as much as I do. Stay in touch and follow us on Facebook for regular updates.