Am I turning into an ungrateful old person?

Asked by

We had a foot or so of snow last night. This morning I had someone I've never seen before shovel my driveway. He rang the bell and told me who he was after he had finished. I started clearing the driveway this morning and was planning to put in two more sessions. I like the exercise and the satisfaction of getting the job complete. It just takes me a while because I'm a little old lady.

I was insulted that he did that work for me. I didn't know what to say or do. Was I supposed to give him money? What did he want?

Then he told me he was a Christian and he invited me to his Presbyterian church a few blocks away. No, no, no. Most Christians scare me because they are so aggessive, but the Presbyterians really scare me. They preach about Hell and how you have to do good works to maybe get into Heaven if you're lucky. That is counter to everything I believe about living and dying.

I hate to think I am turning into an ungrateful old person. I know we have discussed our ungrateful parents on this site often. Am I feeling like an elderly person who gets unasked for help? I feel insulted that someone would think I can't take care of myself and they need to do my work for me.

I found enough generosity in my heart to thank the man with the snow shovel. But I am fuming and feel dissed.

Help me out here fellow caregivers. How should I process this situation. I need an attitude adjustment and can't seem to do it for myself.

BTW I had plans with family today (including my 91 year old mother) but we had to postpone until tomorrow when the roads are safe. I'm not sitting here feeling sorry for myself on Christmas. I was fine until this do-good guy came along and stuck his nose in my business, now I'm angry.

I hope he got his brownie points with God so he can get into Heaven.

Answers 1 to 6 of 6
Maggie:

He should've asked first. I too, at 50, would've been offended by the intrusion no matter how well intentioned it was. With everything that's going on about mature individuals being victimized -- even by people they know --, I don't blame you for being concerned.

Still, I'm not sure whether you need an attitude adjustment or not because I don't know you; and the few lines you've posted are a smidgen of the entire person. So I'm not going to label you. You weren't, however, "fine" when the good samaritan came by with his shovel. His presence was just the spark that you needed to channel your emotions in a positive manner, and you did so by asking for help.

All in all, you did the right thing by thanking him; and the smart thing by reaching out for support. ... Don't be so hard on yourself. People like you and I hold ourselves to higher standards than most individuals we know, and usually are our own worst critics. The trick is being able to live and enjoy life while keeping those standards in their proper perspective. When we don't, a pickle puss attitude permeates who we are, what we do, what we don't but should -- and then beat ourselves up for not doing it. Add to that a sprinkle of depression to go with the loneliness that characterizes this attitude.

Have fun with your family when the roads finally clear, and let the real you shine through. Happy Holidays!

-- ED
Look, depending on our outlook we are either happy or not when someone does something for us. If you feel that the reason why the gentleman chose to shovel your snow was to promote his parish & religion, then you are justified, but the snow thing was a nice surprise if no strings were attached.

You might consider the following story before you go so far out on the limb of self-sufficiency that you miss chances to meet neighbors and form relationships with others in your area. A lady on our street who was getting on in years was fiercely independant, & eventually people stopped noticing because she didn't want to be involved although the vibe of the neighborhood is laid back & friendly. Last month apparently she came down with a flu that turned into pneumonia and she was discovered by her landlord who came by when the rent was not paid. She was taken away by the paramedics and we learned this week that she passed away in the hospital. One of the neighbors in the complex who stopped by the hospital were told that she passed. Someone will take care of her cat, no one knows if she has family or friends. It is sad to think that if she had kept her boundaries but been a bit more open she might still be taking her morning walk.

Not meaning to preach - its just that many times its easy to feel blue during the holidays, keep connected.
Thank you both. I work on my boundaries all the time because my mother is a super boundary violator. When I started to spend more time with her because of her aging needs. I had to ramp up my boundaries.

Now I realize the man frightened me because he violated my boundaries by coming on my property and doing work without asking. I was probably more frightened than angry because I had lost control.

I need to examine my knee jerk reaction to taking offense at people and appreciate a kindness when it comes my way.

Thanks again.
Top Answer
I don't think seniors (or anyone) should answer the door, unless you are expecting someone. There are so many preditors out there... please be more careful.
im 47 yrs old , i would welcome that man come over and do my walkway and drive way , i would even pay him !
i hate shoveling snow !!! i be delighted to able walk out there and not have to cry , well i live out in the country nobody walks around out here hahaha , once in a great while the farmer would get his tractor out and clean out my drive way , i wave him thank you !! hey what about my sidewlak but he drive on by , waaaaaaaaaaaa.
I hear of fairly healthy younger people dying every winter from shoveling snow. The cold, coupled with being a little sedentary causes heart attacks brought on by the sudden hard work of shoveling heavy snow. I would think that this man had the best of intentions seeing an old lady in need of clearing snow. Yes he should have asked you first, and you could've made him a batch of cookies as a reward. As a fellow Christian, I know he was trying to reach out to someone in need like Christ did. In our church there are teenagers who get together and do yard work for seniors and those with disabilities a couple times a year. In the future when you see him again, tell him how much you appreciated him reaching out, but you do like the exercise still. Then reassure him that if and when you DO have a muscle type need, you'll reach back. Win win.

Share your answer

Please enter your Answer

Ask a Question

Reach thousands of elder care experts and family caregivers
Get answers in 10 minutes or less
Receive personalized caregiving advice and support