ROSE NOLEN: Some enjoy time with family while others prefer work, hobbies

Tuesday, January 22, 2013 | 6:00 a.m. CST

My friend refuses to move into a senior citizen apartment complex. Her objection is her concern that other seniors will insist on sitting with their grandchildren at the apartment building. She does not care to be around young children when she would like to take a nap. She is annoyed with her neighbors' lack of consideration for other people who live in the building.

My friend, like me, does not have grandchildren. She is deeply involved in her family’s genealogy. She usually puts in two or three hours a day either with her computer or scouring the books from which she researches her family’s history.

Since so many of my friends and associates are grandparents, she feels that she spends at least two days every week as an adoptive aunt with families. She nevertheless feels resentful that her friends do not seem to take her goals seriously. Her research requires her to travel at least three or four times a year. Her associates seem to resent house-sitting for her while she is away.

Often my friend complains that during the summer her friend’s apartment complex is overrun with children. According to the lease, children are not allowed to spend the night in the apartments. My friend knows that the older people in the building disregard the lease, and the disruption in the building is unsettling. The grandparents, of course, are at ease with the situation.

One of the grandmothers has a daughter and son-in-law who fight repeatedly and often the daughter must stay in her mother’s home with the children. Sometimes the daughter stays in the home for as long as a week. Occasionally, one of the other tenants turns the family in, at which time the families have a falling out and the entire complex is at war.

My friend has suggested to the grandparent that perhaps she might be happier moving into a house, but the grandmother claims she cannot afford it. The daughter and son-in-law are content with the situation. The daughter’s family has now grown to include five children.

People who have grandchildren sometimes have a hard time understanding the fact that many older people enjoy using their spare time for activities that they were unable to enjoy when they were younger. A lot of people enjoy traveling and visiting relatives. Often husbands and wives enjoy spending time alone or with their friends.

Times have changed. People have their own lives and are not so closely associated with other family members these days. Young children have their own friends and are not necessarily attached to other family members as they once were. Families often live far away from each other and make friends with other families.

In earlier times, many families occupied houses with several generations of their own family. These days few families live with more than two generations. And more people are living alone than ever before.

Some senior citizens enjoy spending time with younger people. But a lot of people are working a lot longer and enjoy spending their time in other ways. Some people are still living the rest of their lives.

To each her own. Live and mean it.

You can join the conversation with Rose M. Nolen by calling her at 882-5734 or emailing her at Questions? Contact Opinion Editor Elizabeth Conner.

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