The Battle For Happiness As Our Parents Age

At my brother Lance’s 54th birthday party, one of Lance’s friends shared that his parents forced him to go on nature trips with his family, even when all he wanted to do was stay home and play video games. And now, as an adult, he’s happy his parents forced him to go.

This topic came up because I was discussing Mom not wanting to go to pretty much anything that I set up that I know she would enjoy, like Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Park or floating at a saltwater spa.

Lance’s friend mentioned that I should force Mom to go for her own good – just like when his parents forced him as a child. He said when you’re a baby your parents force you to visit places and create wonderful memories. When you’re an adult you get to decide for yourself. And when you become a senior you start reverting back to being a baby and need to be forced again.

I agreed with everything he said and added: but now that I’m the adult and my Mom is sliding into the senior-baby stage, I no longer force her to go on vacation or a day spa because my sanity is now more important than Mom’s happiness.

So now, even after I’ve made reservations and paid deposits, if Mom backs out at the last minute, I let her. I don’t battle. I don’t plead, I don’t argue. I don’t huff and puff. My sanity is more important and I simply let Mom back out.

As Gary Vaynerchuk advises: “Giving with zero expectation of anything in return is happiness.” And in my Mom’s case, pleading with her to go on vacation is a sign that I had expectations.

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