Finding your Zen

We were the generation that was always looking for something else, a higher power, peace, contentment, Zen.

After all, it was the Beatles who introduced us to the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi and Transcendental Meditation. I certainly can’t see parents of the 50’s questioning the here and  now, wondering if there was more to life, spirituality. They were too busy coping with day-to-day life. For most typical 1950’s families, the father earned a living, the mother took care of the children, grocery shopped, managed the household, prepared the meals. Who had time for philosophical discussions with oneself!

We started the exercise craze with running, walking, stretching those limbs, bicycling, roller blading.  We wanted to keep moving, get our figures back fast after childbirth, be relevant, be vital,be in touch, be present, mindful.  

Suddenly, yoga mats were everywhere, apps for meditation, supplements for de stressing one’s life, retreats to get in touch with yourself, spas to unwind, massage therapy, aromatherapy, pet therapy, …  

A newly released study conducted by the Yoga Journal and Yoga Alliance shows that U.S. yoga practitioners increased to more than 36 million up from 20.4 million in 2012. That’s a lot of rubber mats being sold!

Many Baby Boomers returned to the religion they were raised with, having veered from it as young twenty somethings.  It answered that need for more. Maybe we couldn’t do it all without a little help from a higher being? Maybe praying brought peace and hope.  It all makes sense when you think about the tumultuous times we grew up in and the rapid changes we were witnessing.

A 2000 New York Times poll reported that 70% of Americans described themselves as more or equally observant of religion as their parents.  81% expressed a belief in the after life, and 30% say they meditated regularly. To cap it off 90% participated in private religious experiences and a majority believe in miracles.  Wow, is the life we lead on a day-to-day basis not fulfilling enough, lacking in someway? I ask myself these questions because I have the time now! I didn’t before and so while they may have entered into my head, they were tucked away for a later date.  Retirement!

I remember my father in law’s wife (whom my husband and I never liked -another family story for a future blog) reading books on Buddha and Hinduism. I thought it odd, but now that I reflect back, I realize she was seeking something too. Though not a Baby Boomer herself, she was a person searching for more, not content with the present. This being about twenty-five years ago, it became clear to me that I am the age she was then!! So my conclusion is that we push these big thoughts aside until we have the time to reflect on them. This desire to achieve contentment and peace of mind is in our DNA.  How could we, the doers, the activists, the advocates, be anything but searchers in this next chapter of life?

Following in our footsteps, but getting a jump on the future, Millennials are not waiting . They are seeking happiness from the get-go.  I’d like to think it’s because we were good role models, but maybe it’s because they see how stressed out we are (were) and how we cope – in this technological world of split second  decisions and expectations of immediate gratification,

Interestingly, more Yale undergrad students registered for a first class on happiness  than any other course in the university’s history.  Nearly ¼ of Yale’s undergrads enrolled.

Now, if that doesn’t give us hope for the next generation, nothing will!  

Bravo Millennials!

Today’s Takeaway—

.Be a searcher, a seeker, always look for that place that gives you peace and contentment.  Don’t accept things the way they are. Unless you are in Nirvana already, there’s always room for improvement!

.Don’t judge other people’s practices, whatever they may be.  What’s right for one person often doesn’t work for another. Find your Zen and embrace it. 

Enjoy the ride!

xox Barclay and Joy

Boomerang Daughter

Who would have ever thought my (Joy’s) 30 year old daughter would come back and live with us?  After being on her own for the last 7 years, she  made the decision to advance her career with a Master’s degree. I applauded her decision knowing that in her field of non-profit work, an advanced degree was a must to be taken seriously and to earn a better paycheck.  So off she went to live a year in London studying for her Masters of Science.

Super proud of her!  Her  hard work and studying paid off and she earned the accreditation, completing the program in one year. She knew that getting a job in her field and reentering the workforce would not be a slam dunk, even in a robust job market. In our current administration, funding for these types of programs  relevant to her field of study has been sorely impacted. Oh, to be able to start her own foundation and create her own job, but Bill and Melinda Gates we are not, but I digress!

When a millennial child needs a free place to live, enter mom and dad.  I certainly came from the type of home that if ever I needed my mother or father, even as a 30 plus year old person, for any reason at all, they were  there for me.  Naturally, I would want to do the same for mine and have.

The statistics indicate that Boomers have children return to them for all sorts of reasons. For the first time in more than 130 years, young adult children ages 18-34 are more likely to live with their parents than in any other  living situation, according to an analysis by The Pew Research Center. An astounding 32.1% live in their parent’s home with the statistic for male children being even higher at 35%.

Economics are a big contributor.  In major cities a studio apartment (less than 600 sq.feet) can run  $3,000 per month — that coupled with staggering amounts of student loan debt, and it is no easy task to launch a child.  And  keep her  launched! As the saying goes, ‘’The best laid plans…” or “Shit happens”!

On the plus side, this is truly a wonderful opportunity to connect with your adult child whom you may not have spent long quality time with for a while. In my case, this has been a treasured benefit, getting to know this person again, to remember the funny things you share in everyday life, the nuances, her wry smile, her sing-song way of talking to the dog, her laughter. She makes me some concoction of natural herbs to help me sleep, binge watches a tv series with me, occasionally lets me in on a private thought or asks for guidance.  This is special and will be tucked away as a memory that only we share.

On the negative side, you are now sharing a home – there’s the lack of privacy, (not that we are romping around naked or anything like that! I’m a Jewish girl!), the cleaning of the stove, preparation of meals. Who does what — putting gas in the car, picking up clothes, you get the picture.
My husband being totally obsessive about our new high-end stove watches her every move and makes visual grimaces as she fries her veggie burger.  Will the grease splatter across the highly polished stainless steel? What will she do about it? He drives me crazy with this type of Felix Unger behavior and knowing that this is a potentially explosive situation for argument, I try to be the go between.  Really, did anyone ever die of grease on their stove?!! This is what happens when you pair a neat freak and a “ I can take care of that in the morning person”!

 

The lesson to be learned is that three grown people are now trying to live under the same roof, one that was meant for two, (sold the house, bought the next chapter in life house for the two of us).  Throw in a senior citizen canine, 15 ½ years old, pooping randomly, plus a refugee puppy adopted from Mexico and you’ve  got the makings of a sitcom that Norman Lear might have created!

 

I am thrilled to have my first-born home, even if it’s a temporary blip on the road back to independence and she can stay for as long as she wants or needs.  The opportunity to sock money away when she is gainfully employed is very tempting and something I am more than happy to offer.

Nothing in life is permanent, as they say, except death and taxes, so for now this is the new dynamic.

 

I will look back fondly on this time of life when my Boomerang child returned and know it was meant to happen in this way. As always, the most colorful words tell it best in Yiddish, bashert!

 

Today’s Takeaway—

. Accept life’s little surprises as a sign from the heavens. Be happy for the time you didn’t expect with your adult children.

. They’re not in high school anymore.  Let them have their space and learn from them. My knowledge of pop culture, music, tv, jargon, comes from them.  That’s how I stay a cool, hip mom!

P.S- She got a permanent position in her field!

Enjoy the ride!

xox, Barclay and Joy