I think part of becoming a mature adult is coming to the realization that everyone in your life, especially in your family, is just doing the best that they can.
Sometimes, or maybe a lot of the time, it isn’t enough, but what are you going to do about it? Everyone is trying to be happy, and no one is really trying to piss you off. Everyone is trying but sometimes we don’t know what to do.
The caveat to that is that sometimes it is really difficult to accept the fact that what you are seeing is, in fact, that person’s best efforts. This is especially difficult when you are disappointed by a parent. Most people grow up with the idea of an infallible parent and when you reach an age of not only understanding that they make mistakes, but that they have major parts of life that they aren’t good at, it can throw you for a loop.
A big example is how my family is dealing with my grandmother. Certainly she has pushed everyone up to and probably beyond their limits. I think politely correcting her has flown out the window at this point, from what I gather. She won’t remember that you corrected her anyway. Fighting is not good for anyone involved. All of us feel bad for her too, everyone has compassion in their heart and everyone tries to help out of deep and profound love. I guess asking for infinite patience is a bit much. I just try to put myself into my grandmother’s situation. My memory is gone, my independence is gone, I’m lonely and I’m bored. I get confused and I get into fights with the people I love regularly. It sucks. Flat out sucks.
It is really the first time in my life where I can look at my father and tell that he really is out of ideas and doesn’t know what to do. It is scary to me, frankly.
I think people probably have a very frustrating view of my life. They probably look at me and find it hard to believe that where I am at is a product of me giving it my all. And I guess I don’t even mean effort, but that my outlook is the best I can muster, or this is as sensitive as I can be, or whatever.
I don’t know how to be any better at this life. This is what I am. I am trying to improve, I hope we all are.
I also think that when you find a curmudgeonly old person, you have found a person that stopped trying to improve a long time ago, and now the world has passed by. It happens a lot, it is easy to let happen. It can be difficult to really face your weaknesses and grow. It is easy to look at your past, your success, your work, and your life and think it is now time to sit back.
I really hope I never get there.