Close up Hands Tea x

Sit a bit and hear some observational stories I’ve been steeping.

The Sandwich Generation

The Sandwich Generation: middle-aged adults caught between the obligations of raising children and taking care of aging, sometimes ill, parents.  Being a caregiver to one person can be draining, but being caregiver to many is often overwhelming, with the person in charge typically running on reserve tanks of little-to-no sleep, poor nutrition (despite feeding everyone else healthily) and not always with a strong support system in place.


In the past three days, two friends of mine have lost a parent and a third rushed out of a breakfast meeting this morning after receiving a panic-y phone call that her father wasn’t doing well (having had open heart surgery two weeks ago).  All of these friends still have to tend to children, spouses and jobs, forcibly putting one foot in front of the other, no matter what kind of pain they are in.


Newscasters continue to announce conflicts, financial woes and healthcare/scare headlines –adding unfathomable weight to the existing straws on the backs of a generation poised for collapse.  It is estimated that approximately 1 of every 8 Americans aged 40 to 60 is both raising a child and caring for a parent, in addition, between 7 to 10 million adults care for their aging parents from a long distance.  As time goes on, these numbers will increase, as will the weight the Sandwich Generation has to bear.


Is it any wonder then that social media is bursting at the cyber seams with people longing to connect with one another?  No matter that we continue to construct a world that insists on diminishing human contact (ATMs, self-service check-outs, etc.) we still crave the interaction of loved ones to build a support system to hold us up when we need it most.  True, there’s a lot of TMI being dispensed (“People sneezing incorrectly all around me!” – “Some ordered the last bagel I wanted.” – Blah-blah-blah) via Twitter and Facebook, but when we have a moment of need, requiring someone to hold our hand or heart, we are met in an instant, across time and space, by those who are interested in us and care about our well-being.


Naysayers can continue to complain about the increased non-stop fingers to keyboards nowadays.  All I know is that as a card carrying member of the Sandwich Generation, I am grateful for the multiple technological gadgetry available to us and the cafes and establishments that serve up free WiFi to help nourish and soothe our souls, whether we recognize it as that or not.


As we struggle to move forward in our lives, it’s kind of nice to have a group of people electronically encourage us to get up and put our shoes on, even if it is just to walk across the room to read our email or play a computer game with a friend who lives across town, on the other side of the country or world.  Sometimes it’s that first step that gets us up and moving, continuing on the road we must travel to do what needs to be done for those on either side of us.

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