Adult Children, empty nester, Random Musings, Well being

Adulting Anguish – When your kids become adults.

Adulting Anguish – When your kids become adults.

8/18/2022

I started going back to the habits that I had developed years ago. Throughout the last two years, I had let those positive aspects of life, wane and then just end.

I began noticing the last few weeks that anxiety was affecting my sleep.

The logical step was to stop and evaluate what was going on in my life.

The anxiety was more prevalent on the days I spent watching hours of television and movies. I was just overstimulating my brain and became unable to regulate those emotions well.

I went and brought up one of my old weekly personal schedules and looked at it. In the previous attempts to develop better life habits, I gave up on television and movies during the week and only allowed myself three hours on Saturday and Sunday. I had much clearer thoughts and less anxiety then. I was up to seven hours of sleep at night back then but currently only averaging four to five hours a night.

There was at one point when I went two years without a television at all. It was at the deepest point of the major depression that I was going through. I believe that the wave of depression would have lasted longer if I had access to television and movies back then. I know that I would have been bingeing on movies or television series. I am so glad that I did not.

After adjusting that calendar, I am back to no television again during the week, today is the fourth day. My mind does not feel so cluttered, and I feel calmer. I still only got five hours of sleep last night than the previous six hours I used to get nightly. It is still a work in progress. Small steps and changes are the best way to overcome things.

As I have been developing these better habits, I also went back to my previous weekly reading schedule. I have never been able, since I was a kid, to just read one book at a time. In elementary to junior high school, they always had these reading challenges to see who could read the most books each semester. You would get these little certificates or ribbons and a small prize. I would be the only one the entire year. I would devour 3 to 5 books a week. Getting older changed that enthusiasm and stamina, so it is taking a little longer to get through the readings.

Along the way of living this life, I also focused on my creative ability and talents. Discovering new art forms, I love and cherish the memories those art forms afforded me. I have met so many talented and gifted people that not only inspired me but made me aspire for more.

Reading all of this, one would get the impression that my life so far had been calm, cool, and easy but it was not.

I struggle financially to make ends meet. It has been this way since I separated from my then ex-husband. I have been trying to maintain the status quo as it applies to the lifestyle my children grew up in and are used to. Then being out of work the last two years, solely relying on VA disability, has not bettered my situation but has kept me afloat and comfortable.

This imagined responsibility to my children has kept me perpetually in limbo when it comes to my finances. That was the issue when one of them harshly spoke to me about my situation.

After the incident with one of them the past few days, I realized that it is time for me to cut those apron strings and let them figure this stuff out on their own. I can no longer be the one they come to when they are trying to figure things out. It kills me inside to feel this way. That is not how I wanted our relationship with one another to be once they became adults. I wanted them to know that I would always be there for them to rely on.

I realized my thinking that way is stunting their growth into adulthood. They must make their own mistakes and learn how to rectify them.

I must focus on my own needs though and the things that I keep putting off. Dental care, personal health care, relationships, meaningful work, and my own creative outlets.

My youngest son lives with me now, and we are trying to figure out a way to get him back into school in the spring out of state. He already plans on living on campus and finding a part time job now that he has 3 years of work experience, it should be no problem. His previous scholarship is still intact. The issue is the transcript needed from his first college; they want all the subsidized loan paid off first before they will release it. It is a large amount that I do not have. It is the only thing holding him up. I will have to speak with the financial aid loan holder to see what our options are.

The one thing that became a sticking point after that conversation is the person telling me that my wanting to be retired just meant I did not want to work a job. I thought about that statement repeatedly the last few days. What is the best way to respond to that?

Currently, I am not able to go back to any of the previous job positions that I held because of the arm. They required the ability to stand, lift, sit, or move for more than 8 hours a day with a minimum lifting weight of forty pounds. I have tried just standing and walking for extended periods of time to see if I could still do that. Despite the weight loss that I have achieved through all of this, the natural pull on the arm when sitting or standing becomes painful and tired after 45 minutes or more, sometimes resulting in a tremor.

I currently can lift five pounds but no more than three to four inches above my head. The arm is shaky, and I cannot push it up any higher. Once again, it becomes tired, achy, stiff, and sometimes a tremor happens. The arm still does not rotate fully out, and I still cannot turn the hand, palm up, because it will not fully rotate. These are still the issues that are being worked with no future date of when it will be fixed or made manageable.

This is where my injury stands after two years. I am worse off now than before surgery.

I thought about the fact that I could do admin or clerical work, but my skills are now outdated, and it still requires sitting at a desk all day, lifting, and moving things.

Thinking that I should update my skills, I tried this private technical training school. It was fun learning the programming, but I was slow compared to the other students. My grades suffered and I am currently on hold. I still have until January to come back if I want.

As far as the retirement goes, the disability I am on, is enough to live on if it was just me. No pets and no other people. I could happily live in a one-bedroom or studio apartment with little and just my crafting items. That has not been the case for years now. My grown kids have been coming in and out of my household since they graduated high school and college. It was unfair of the person to single me out that way, knowing they lived here too at one point.

If I decide that I am officially retired from working, then who does it harm?

I have been working from the age of sixteen until the age of forty-nine. That is thirty-three years of working and raising a family. Twenty of those years was serving in the military to defend this country. I earned the VA benefits that I have because I served honorably. I did my job. I only have another 9 years until my full pension and widower benefits kick in. Until then, I must manage, which is what I have been doing but unsuccessfully.

I do not have a safety net and every time I get extra money from somewhere, things happen. Car issues, health issues, school related expenses, higher than normal bills, vet bills, and a myriad of other things.

Despite all of this, the one thing that has changed, is my attitude. I am no longer this anxiety filled, sad, and angry person from eight years ago. This is due to the years of counseling and therapy that I am still attending.

Now, I can see that positive changes will occur and more willing to let things just flow. The person who got angry with me, does not see that person, they only see the person from 2014 to 2017 when I was at my lowest point in life.

I cannot change their perspective on me and how it affected them.

All I can do is keep pushing forward, stay motivated, and continue to find the positive things in life.

Hopefully, one day, that person will see that I did the best that I could, under those circumstances.

Thank you for stopping by.

Have a wonderful week!

Peace, love, happiness, and good vibes, always.

Suzanne