I have many clients who are over-50 who lived through, and wholeheartedly participated in, the tumultuous 60’s-70’s: Vietnam, Protest Rallies, Peace-Ins, The Summer of Love, Woodstock, etc. For sure, things were pretty chaotic in those days and this unique generation sought, and tried to sow peace everywhere they went in many different ways.
Today, in 2013, they’re older and wiser, but no less optimistic in their search for peace. Yet, many feel like they still haven’t quite got a hold on it even now, especially since their lives are often very complicated. Many have just “made their peace” with not really finding the peace they’d really like. Maybe the answer lies in embracing more practical ways to find peace.
Finding Peace in Practical Answers
Boomers are also known as the Sandwich Generation for a few reasons. First, they’re the generation that are likely to both be caring for elderly parents and kids, all at the same time – sometimes even under the same roof. As stressful as all that responsibility sounds, there’s another reason they’re aptly called the Sandwich Generation.
Unlike younger Gen X and Gen Y generations who seem to be able to just pick up and move on to the next big social trend at a moment’s notice, and ride the booming technological wave without a hitch, Boomers still have one foot in serving the ideals of their own past. Many even carry some of their parents’ generation’s values– all the while trying to keep up with the breakneck speed of the present world of their kids’ – maybe even grandkids’ – generations.
They’re growing older in a fast whirling present trying to see an uncertain future. For the Boomer generation, it may be hard to keep both their bearings and balance the present while still maintaining a sense of who they really are and where they came from. Finding peace swirling between the past, present and future is elusive at best. So what do you do if you find yourself in this situation?
Because you almost always are living in 3 time-zones, things that can bring you the most peace and tranquility in your life in 2013 may not be the Utopian ideals of your past (although there’s still room to work on some of that too). But, at this stage in your life, more practical things that can help you gain some immediate peace might look more like:
1. Resource Tasking. Generating ideas to help you plan and find resources for helping elderly parents, whether it’s to find the best nearby assisted living, or someone to come into your home to help you care for them. Learning ways to deal with kids’ college loans, or handle problematic mortgages, or the financial strain from trying to help kids who may have lost jobs, or couldn’t find one, and have moved back in with you; and even finding ways to still support your own goals at the same time, can be great stress-relievers and peace-bearers in disguise.
2. Help coping. Don’t try to carry the weight of all your responsibilities alone. Seek the help of professional agencies, counselors, etc, whom you can consult and float all your stressors and uncertainties by. They can offer some very practical coping skills that you likely haven’t thought of, in how to deal with your stressors and/or reduce, or get rid of, some of them.
3. Exercise. You might wonder how exercise could bring you peace, but the simple act of releasing a lot of pent up stress from all your many responsibilities can calm you and help you handle them more efficiently. It’s crucial for you to make time to exercise 3 or more, times a week. Just getting away to do this for yourself, can really boost feelings of peace immediately. And it will help you stay healthy to allow you to reach your goals.
Because of trying to mesh ideals of their past with the realities of their present, and what might be an uncertain future, people in the over-50 generation need help finding their peace. If you’re a member of this one of a kind generation, find ways to decrease the pressure in your often-complicated life by seeking practical ways to release it. When you’re feeling less pressured and less harried, knowing that you’ve covered all the bases you’re responsible for, finding a corner of peace becomes a whole lot easier.
Dale Brown, B.S., M.A., C.E.C.