8 Signs we’re turning into Our Parents (and that’s OK)



We all have our habits.  As children and teenagers, our habits, of course, were normal.  The actions of our parents?  Not so much.  They spoke of television shows and songs we knew nothing of while reminiscing about five and dime stores and baseball cards in bicycle wheel spokes.

It was bizarre.

Now that we’re older, well, it all makes sense.  Somewhere in our 30s, these bizarre habits seem to kick in and now we too, are perfectly fine starting conversations with total strangers in the store.  If we’re so inclined, maybe we’ll show them our carpel tunnel surgery scares too.

Here are 8 habits that say, without a doubt, we’re turning into our parents.

1.  We Engage in Early Morning House Checks


This is also known as, “I have to go to the bathroom at 2:27 AM, so I might as well give the house a once-over while I’m at it.”

Of course, it’s not uncommon to end the experience with a celebratory sip of orange or prune juice.  Yippee!  No burglar, creepy twins or rabid raccoon sightings!

2.  We Peer out the Window to Eyeball that “Non-Neighborhood” Car


Sometimes, when a flash of navy makes its way up a street typically lined with white and silver cars, curiosity, no, make that panic, sets in.  “Um, why are they slowing down in front of my house?”  It’s not the Prize Patrol, I’m sure of it.  Now, fear.

In this case, the need to stop dead in our tracks takes over.  The oven timer, the crying baby, the History channel’s “Ancient Aliens”  . . . none of it matters anymore.  In a matter of 2.3 seconds, we engage in a series of mental checks:  Did the neighbor mention anything about having visitors?  Do I remember anyone getting a new car over the weekend?  Have I seen that particular car parked on the next street over?

With one finger on the 911 button and the other cleverly lifting one of the blinds up to see without being seen, we try to commit the license plate to memory.

3.  We Think the World is going to Hell in a Hand Basket


Just as our parents were bewildered at our love for out-of-control music, we’re now the ones shaking our heads in disbelief.  Some of the music, not to mention the clothes, or lack thereof, leave us speechless.  Madonna at least had cones.

We also think the world is going to hell in a hand basket because it’s void of the goodness that made our time great.  Things like Pac Man and Luke and Laura on General Hospital.  Gum with comics in the wrapper and Strawberry Shortcake dolls.

Perhaps it’s just our increased exposure to, and understanding of world events, but it sure seems like this planet isn’t what it was even 20 years ago.

4.  We Actually Use Expressions like “Hell in a Hand Basket.” 

Enough said.

5.  We Watch Shows from Back in the Day because they were Wholesome


My parents recently started talking about the joy they’ve found in “Antenna TV,” a station apparently filled with loving, humorous and memorable dialogue from shows gone by.  I can relate, recalling my grandmother who used to refer to the show, “Perfect Strangers,” as a “good, clean show.”

I often pause to watch Colombo, The Cosby Show and tune in to Blair’s conundrums on The Facts of Life.  The shoulder pads, the hairstyles, the moral dilemmas (“should I do my homework or go to that pizza party with my friends?” are a far cry from the situations many TV children face today).  Sigh.

6.  We think Scars, Powders and Co-Pays are Bonding Experiences

In our youth, bike spills and skiing mishaps challenged us.  We stood up just as quickly as we were tossed from our Huffy, and then talked about the adventure for days.  But nowadays, we try not to stand up too quickly and worry for days if excessive dizziness is a sign that the end is near.

It’s also not uncommon to enjoy discussing body oddities, even though there was a time we’d giggle it off.  Talking with a colleague about the frequency in which we expel gas, for example, is more acceptable especially now that some of us are of colonoscopy age.

We think nothing of rolling our pant leg up in the middle of a Stop & Shop parking lot to show our neighbor (who has eczema) the pus party that just broke out on our ankle.

We’re in this acid reflux thing together, buddy.  I’m here for ya.

7.  We Talk to Strangers in Supermarkets


Used to be, shopping meant putting items in a cart and paying.  End of story.  Eye contact with strangers was rare, let alone starting a conversation with them.  But lately, it’s chat-mania.  Boredom?  Not at all.

We point to a stranger’s cart upon noticing their blueberries and thank them for reminding us about our forgotten list item.  When we round the corner again, we make sure to gesture downwards, informing them that we did indeed purchase the fruit.  We truly believe they share in our excitement.  Maybe blueberries tonight, to accompany the house check, we think.

This always reminds me of the supermarket scene in Mother (Debbie Reynolds, Albert Brooks) where acquaintances meet and end up discussing everything from a cruise to organic peanut butter.

8.  We Know that it’s all OK

Some of these so-called silly habits may seem bizarre, but one thing we can learn from our parents is that in the end, it’s all OK.  Things may change in life (unfamiliar cars and new scars), and the things we once dismissed with an eye roll are the norm for us now . . . and that’s OK.

We’re simply more comfortable with our habits, expressing ourselves without our “what will others think of me?” cloak.  “Older folk” actions are now more understandable, more admirable, more . . . us.

So while midnight house checks and encounters in Trader Joes may not be the stuff edge-of-your-seat novels are made of, they’re all OK in my book.


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