Ep 63 Cope Ahead

May 26, 2023

Good morning from New York City. I’ve been having many conversations of late with friends who are dealing with parents whose lives have been turned upside down through illness, the loss of their spouse, the loss of mental faculties, their ability to drive, or the residual artifacts from Covid that can be isolation or paranoia about allowing people into their home.So I hear a lot of different stories about how people are coping, how they’ve gotten support, how they’ve managed tough conversations with a parent or a sibling, and I try to share them with other friends, right? That can be anything from how to introduce a helper into the house, someone who comes to do some chores and sort of nudging along, or bringing along a relationship that can serve as the parent begins to need more help.

There are many examples I can give, but the one I’m going to share today which I think is really great is this language my friend Dana uses. She talks about coping ahead and I just love that. Cope ahead. It’s a terrific hack and it doesn’t have to be about an aging parent. It’s really about when we go into those situations that can be – I don’t know – summer holidays, a Sunday lunch, visiting family, or getting yourself into a conversation or situation with someone who you know is going to ask a question that irritates you. Whatever it may be. She talks about coping ahead and it’s a terrific awareness practice. It’s like when you know in advance that something’s going to irritate you and frustrate you, or send you reeling, coping ahead is about thinking in advance how you want to behave, what your options are, and how you’re going to respond. I just think it’s such a great one.

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