You know when you have kids – and then you start to see the world in a completely different light? You start noticing things that once seemed simple – but when pointed out to you – by your child – become magnificent? A young finger points something out and you’re like, “Whoa! Yes, that is totally amazing. I should pay better attention.”
If you answered “yes” or “well, kinda” – that’s how living in a multigenerational household is – times 1000. We got five people, 3 generations (maybe 4 with my kids’ age gap), 3 females, 2 males, different ethnicities…and the list could go on. The perspectives, thought processes, lenses, personalities, and ways of doing things are like “whoa!”
We can either self-combust, daily, because that is a lot to navigate as things swirl. Or – we can treat this like an invitation to a daily adventure.
For the most part, we chose the latter.
We’ve decided to use the various lenses as opportunities to:
Learn – there are a bazillion teachable moments. These moments can be heartbreaking, tragic, exhilarating, or moving. The point is – there is always something to learn. I see this as a mega bonus in the adventure of multigenerational living.
Appreciate Time – everyone in this multigenerational nest is aging by the second, minute, hour, day, month…and on it goes. Instead of focusing on the next milestone, we become very present and conscious about mini-milestones that help us reflect and appreciate the current spot each one of is in. With five people observing time – the speed at which time flies is ever present in how we choose to move forward and continue to connect.
Create – the talents, gifts, strengths, interest in our multigenerational family vary so much. I think we could easily go to our separate corners of the house, hole up, and create some brilliant and stunning masterpieces. But, since we are communal group – we tend to become involved in each other’s creations so we can share time, nurture relationships, laugh, play, and marvel at the end results.
Fire Your Representative – if a multigenerational household is to be successful, then only the real players are allowed. The fake-self or representative will need to be evicted – or run off in extreme cases. Inauthenticity has no place in a multigenerational home because lenses will malfunction and become warped.
Soul Search – multigenerational living is not for the faint of heart. If you can’t tap deep within and tackle any limiting beliefs that surface – then multigenerational living will suck. If you search your soul, get clear with who you are, own your own sh*t and then tackle it – you should be OK.
Go on Daily Adventures – we love to get out and explore. With the multiple generations – there is always something a few family members have seen, done, or experienced – that needs to be shared with other family member. So…we go and do it, again. We set goals to have a certain number of whole family adventures, small group adventures, and individual adventures. Our dinner table serves as the platform for each multigenerational contributor to share ahas, reflections, wonderings, and joy.
The daily adventure my mother-in-law and son went on, this week was spent trying out the public bus and light rail. Doesn’t sound like a big deal – but when they both shared the experience – through their individual lenses – I felt their happiness and excitement. They could barely contain themselves.
How do you go on daily adventures?
How do you marvel at and appreciate the little things?