Learning To Step Aside


I was driving to get a few groceries yesterday when this car jumped in front of me. So I got in the other lane. 

Before I hardly knew what was happening, the car revved up and then zoomed up behind me really fast.

It caught me by surprise, but my instinct was to veer away. The car then changed lanes and pulled ahead. I have no idea what he was trying to prove. But it was reckless and stupid. 

Why are people so angry? It seems that people are angrier these days. 

In traffic. In politics. In general. What has happened to cause such rage?

It's bad enough that idiots text and stare at their phones while driving. That's pretty darned reckless and many times it is how someone is killed. 

People are preoccupied. Everything seems to be about them

 
I've read that children are more depressed in this era because so much is done for them and they don't have to think for themselves until they reach adulthood. 

And then they are utterly unprepared to make decisions for themselves. What "helicopter parents" don't seem to understand is that you can't feel pain for your children. 

Planning their every minute is not going to keep bad things from happening. 

We grow up thinking our elders are clueless. That they are soooo old fashioned and out of the loop.

Then we grow older and we're no longer in that loop we thought we'd always be part of. Life kind of passed us by with its fast pace. 

And somehow it happened when we weren't aware it was even occurring.

We become that older person. That older person takes over our bodies. And when we look in the mirror, we look at someone with wrinkles and laugh lines and another chin forming. 

When did that happen?


It all goes by in a flash, doesn't it? One day we're in high school and we can't wait for time to pass so we can live by adult rules. 

And suddenly we're grandmothers. 

We step aside with our own ways because our children are now the parents. We might disagree, but we try to hold our tongues. We learn to live our lives on the periphery of theirs.

What they don't understand, what we didn't understand, is that with age comes a wisdom that can't be learned any other way than by the passage of time.

There is so much we could tell them. So much sadness we might spare them. 

But we have to let them do it their way. And make their own mistakes. Because that is the natural order of things in the universe. 

Meanwhile, we learn that stepping aside is a part of life too.



41 comments

  1. I struggle with that every day. My daughter and 2 year old granddaughter live with me and that makes it doubly hard to keep quiet and let her do her thing. When I feel the urge to jump in, I just go in the other room and let it be. I wait for her to ask for my help or opinions.

    As far as drivers on the road, they are so rude these days! Everyone is a big hurry. Tailgaters are my pet peeve. I have a dash cam and did a little experiment. I put it facing out the back window of my car and people stopped tailgating me as much. I just have to wonder if these people would walk that closely behind me in a store. I doubt it.

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    1. That must really be hard with them living with you. But it's best if we can keep quiet unless they ask for our advice.

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  2. It's hard, "stepping aside," but someday, one of your grandchildren will come to you and tell you about something that is really bothering them, or come to you and just want to watch you make up a batch of chili or ask you to make some cookies like you used to when they were little, and they will sit and watch you. And then start talking. I used to do this with my dad's parents, I didn't talk to my own parents, I talked to grandma and grandpa. So, keep the faith, it may yet happen. As to the world seeming to be filled with ever more and increasingly JERKY jerks(!), just take a good hard look at the Jerk in Chief currently in the White House. I've always said it trickles from the top down, just like their voodoo economic policies are supposed (only they never work) -- evidently the jerkiness flows downhill readily, but the "money" never does.

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    1. i agree with you. It starts with the top down. And it isn't looking very good up there.

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  3. My car was recently hit and run. No note of explanation. When I went and saw the insurance adjuster I told him that no one had left a note and he very kindly told me that he sees maybe 1 in 500 cars hit in a parking lot have anyone take responsibility for their actions. The police officer that handled my case pretty much confirmed this, as well as my insurance adjuster. I was also told these types of crimes are on the rise.

    I think the "me-me-me" mindset people have now is breaking down the niceties of society. Manners and kindness grease civilization and when people decide they are too cool to be nice, well, you get people who have a very large sense of entitlement. It's very unfortunate.

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    1. I used to get my car hit in parking lots while I was in stores quite a bit. My Pathfinder has some dings in it because I didn't want to pay the insurance to have it fixed. But now that I have a handicapped sticker, I haven't been hit at all.

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    2. I have noticed that stores are changing their lots so that the parking spaces are smaller. One store took their 3 handicapped spots and turned them into 4 handicapped spots. And all the others are smaller. And some cars are getting bigger.

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  4. I have two relatives who drive aggressively as you describe. Both are women with a big need to be in control. We try never to be passengers in their cars because it is too stressful.

    Yes people do need to step aside to allow the next generation to learn their roles. But I had to smile when I read the line about learning to hold our tongues. My late grandmother never really learned to hold her tongue, and my mom has been the same way. Her siblings are that way too -- they are a really bossy, opinionated bunch. At one time or another they've all created some serious friction with their children or other family members because they always have to be the winners. Age, illness, and death seem to be the only adversaries that they haven't been able to conquer, and they've all become a bit more subdued in their twilight years. But they still have to have the last word with family members.

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    1. I've learned over time to keep quiet. Unless they ask me my advice. Which isn't often!

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  5. I thought getting old would take longer. I blinked.

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  6. Very thought provoking post today. Thank you! Carolyn in Florida

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  7. I laughed when you said, "and suddenly we're grandmothers", because I didn't become a grandmother until this year at 68!

    But, Steve and I are thoroughly enjoying watching our daughter as a mother. She has always had an independent streak, as did her brother, and we can see already despite Andy being just 3 months, that she will instill that independence in him.

    This also brought to mind the day my 8th grade son came home upset because he receive an F on a mobile he had made for his US History class. Despite my being a teacher, neither of my kids wanted my help on school projects. They both possess their dad's artistic skills and that mobile was fantastic. But, Josh left his name off the project, not thinking to add it to one of the pieces hanging from the mobile. Of course the teacher knew it was Josh's, of course he thought it was unfair to get an F and of course he thought I would call the teacher and fix it. But, I knew the teacher and I knew his grade at the end of the semester would be his usual A, but he needed to learn a lesson. He was shocked that I didn't call, but believe me, he never forgot to put his name on an assignment again.

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    1. I had my children quite young. But my daughters had their children later. What you taught your son was something he will always remember. It was a "teaching" experience for him.

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  8. Great post Brenda, my thoughts exactly.

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    1. Sometimes it's hard to realize that our children are grown and don't need our advice. Easy to see the little girl in pigtails...

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  9. You are so true when you say this: "What they don't understand, what we didn't understand, is that with age comes a wisdom that can't be learned any other way than by the passage of time. There is so much we could tell them. So much sadness we might spare them."

    I guess there's no way to change this. I wish I'd listened closer to my mother. I just found a letter than my grandmother wrote to my mom when my siblings and I were little. It sounded like my mom was overwhelmed and worrying about things. It happened that my daughter was sitting by me and I read it out loud. She has a 3 yr old and a 2 month old. I hope that she heard what it said about cherishing this time because it goes SO fast. I didn't listen and the time is gone...
    I often wonder if there is anyone who does slow down and smell the roses.
    Clara

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    1. We can learn to do that now. It's never too late to learn to stop and smell the roses. The letter you found, how wonderful that you have it and that you read it with your daughter. That was a wonderful moment.

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  10. I hear you, Brenda...I'm at that stage, too. I learned a long time ago that I have enough of my own stuff going on to be telling anyone else what to do (unless they ask)...and that really does keep drama out of my life. There are so many self-absorbed people, in a constant rush. I have learned to get out of the way, too...and I try to assume that maybe they have some real problems going on, and cut them some slack.

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  11. Yes, people are a lot more angrier. Some have no tolerance or respect for others, and often they lay the blame everywhere but where it belongs, on themselves. I use to do everything for everyone until one day I was wore out. I use to think I was the only one who could "do it right" and no one could "do it as good as me." I had to back off and when my kids went to college and eventually moved into their own homes I was that woman who looked in the mirror and wondered where time went and what had happened to the girl who was 19 when she married, a mother of 2 in her mid twenties, a wife and all those other labels we wear. There stood a woman I didn't even know anymore, somewhere along the way I lost myself, and I didn't even know if I could salvage what was left. Over weight, gray hair, wrinkles, frown lines, stretch marks, it was all there. If life taught me anything it was to let my children make their own mistakes because trying to give them sound advice was only seen by them as criticism. The saying ""she has bite marks on her tongue for all the things she didn't say" applied to me. I'm a widow now and never figured I'd grow old alone without my guy. Life (and death) is what happens when you planned something else. I am slowly learning to be alone and liking my own company.

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    1. Your comment is quite beautiful! I certainly can empathize with you.

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  12. so many spoiled children on the road today and in gov. to

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  13. Like you--I blinked and now I am nearly 70--but no grandchildren --neither of my 2 had any--
    and as far as road rage goes--I often have to ride with another tenant here to get to the grocery store and such --she is 74 and she is really bad with the road rage--always yelling at someone else on the road or at traffic lights--and such--it drives me crazy--but if I want to eat--I need to ride with her!!!! so road rage is for all ages these days I guess--along with just being impatient with others--I am 'chill' out kind of gal--I guess I was taught to be patient with others and respectful--
    enjoy the moments, di

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    1. I'm so sorry about that. I wish you lived close to me and I'd drive you to the store.

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  14. The texting and studying the phone while driving fast and erratically is something I am noticing more and more. It seems people don't realize or care if they are in a car wreck at 70 mph, they will be seriously injured or die. And I don't want to be included in their deadly automobile accident.

    I have been noticing an increase in casual rudeness in settings like stores and medical offices, too. I went for blood lab work yesterday and there was no one at the reception desk. I waited about 25 minutes when finally the two workers returned from what I assume was their lunch time. They were still eating/chewing food as they answered phones and took my information.
    Then I was directed to sit down in a nearby chair that was next to and up against a low shelf that had several urine samples sitting on it. "Trickle down" waiting to be processed. The cups did have lids on them, but I had no intention of being that close, within a few inches, to a bunch of random people's cups o'wee, so I just kept standing. I won't go to that lab again.

    I've noticed these types of changes in society for the past two or three years. I don't know what people are thinking about, or if they are thinking, while they are driving or working with the public.

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    1. It seems to me also to be ever worsening. Heaven help us.

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  15. Brenda,

    The world is an angry place. There is so much divisiveness and frankly crazy behavior. We have a generation of kids that are spoiled, coddled, etc and rude. Their parents not only "helicopter" around them in grade school but also go with them to their first job interviews! Then you have a group of people that want to erase our history, as painful as some of it is it is what built this country. We cannot learn from our mistakes if we do not know about them!

    We also have a large part of the population that does not think anyone is entitled to an opinion if it is not the same as theirs.

    And finally, we have a government filled with Democrats and Republicans that are frankly useless. Never have I seen a bunch of people who could care less about the good old USA but simply and selfishly care for only themselves.

    As for wisdom...the saying is true, with age comes wisdom. I wish I would have listened to my elders, I think I might have spared myself a few tears.

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    1. It's a strange time in our nation for sure.

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  16. Ironically, I was just discussing this same thing with my mom and sister the other day. My son is now a dad so I'm trying to let them figure things out on their own too. I don't want to be a nagging mom and grandmother. I'm trying to be the kind of person I would want if I was in their shoes. So, I give advice if asked and step in if I feel it is important enough. Some mistakes are greater than others. Life is all about experiences. You do have to go through the bad in order to get to the good sometimes.

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    1. It's hard when they're new parents, isn't it? Hard to let them learn on their own.

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  17. People are busy,busy,busy. They try to do too much and end up angry at anyone or anything that slows them down. I try to run errands etc when I am not pressed for time. That way I can be relaxed if something slows things down. I don't get gas for car on the way to work, I do it on the way home. Simple planning can make a big difference.

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    1. I'm lucky that I have a very loose schedule. I try not to go out to do much on weekends. I prefer weekdays.

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  18. Hi Brenda~

    Well said! I agree that people are angry and preoccupied, but I also think that they simply don't care. They feel entitled to do their own thing, and they don't care whole toes they stop on. They especially don't care about the older generation and in fact blame them (us) for the way the world is...so sad...they don't know what they are missing out on by not knowing us; we could indeed teach them a thing or two...or a hundred! Just today I was behind a car at a stop light, the light turned green, she sat there, and sat there some more, most likely texting, so I gave my horn a little honk...and she gave me the finger...oh my. I try to be patient, but sometimes, it just seems like too much. My husband and I both agree that a smaller town, with less traffic would be great idea!

    Bless them!

    Hugs,
    Barb

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    1. I often wish I lived in a small town. I buy so much online it wouldn't matter where I lived.

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  19. Really true, Brenda :) Learning to step aside is one of the big lessons.

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  20. I agree with you and have felt this way recently...sort of suddenly actually.

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