Living with My Mother: The Venn Diagram

Living with my mother is like a human Venn diagram. I get to see the parts and pieces of myself, my mother, and the similarities and differences in between.venn-diagram-41217_1280

Now, the question is posed – should one change the similar parts and pieces in themselves that are viewed as detrimental in their parents or would that be like going against the grain, like cutting a roast in the wrong direction?

I see the caregiver my mother has always been, and see the caregiver I’ve become. The similarities in personality and in life choices are so carbon copied, it’s almost dauntingly scary. It’s almost like being a stalker to my mother’s life in having modeled her life; action by action.

Besides all the talk about the “Sandwich Generation” and the complexities of raising small children while caring for aging parents, there is the issue of emotionality when living daily with your aging parents. You get to see where you came from and exactly where you are heading. It’s almost psychic. You can look at your future while standing still in your present just by viewing your parents. It’s the proverbial “blessing in disguise.”

So, is your personality something that is learned or something that is genetically predisposed? Do you live your adult life the way you do, making choices you make because of what you saw growing up, with the ability to change what you don’t like? Or do you live your adult life the way you do because of the predisposed genetics without much say in the matter? Some say it is genetic, while others believe it is learned, but can be unlearned by choice. My opinion, is that it’s a combination of both. You can change certain traits, but you can learn to embrace others and turn them inside out, using them for your benefit.

Living with my parents, I can see where my path is headed, but have the benefit of a road map with all the “Detour” and “Caution” signs. There are even some “Dead End” and “Road Closed” signs. If one is smart, one would first use those life-long experiences right in front of their eyes to their advantage and second, not only learn from those experiences but use them to become stronger.

Lastly, you can learn that while you cannot change all of who you were or where you came from – after all, these things make up the wonderfulness of you today – but you can learn to accept those parts and pieces of the Venn diagram of which you are not fond. Embrace them, let them move through you from time to time for a short visit, but not for long though. Accept your weaknesses, recognize your strengths, but don’t stay in any one part of the Venn diagram for too long, lest you won’t be a Venn diagram any longer…you would be a circle continuing round and round with no differences at all.

As a baby boomer caring for aging parents, do you see parts and pieces of your parents that you recognize in yourself? Do you like, love or have angst about those parts and pieces that are similar? What stands out for you the most that you’d like to recreate?