Monday, October 21, 2013


That's me, heading into the horizon.

It bothers me that no one and nothing except a few cosmetic ads get to the high wall of what's happening to us as we age.

My friend Fran, who advises me about my blog, sent me an article about new trailer parks providing homes that Baby Boomers might consider moving into as they find themselves needing a more neighborly environment -- an area with helpful people their age living nearby, and compact homes that can be maintained with less effort.

Loud first thought -- NOT FOR ME!

I am convinced that most of my neighbors have been brainwashed by present day concepts of what's important, spiritually and recreationally. Clearly, they like stuff that's the antithesis of what I feel and believe.

But yesterday, my niece phoned, delightedly reporting that she and her husband just bought a condo in an assisted living community.

I cringed.

Cringed? Yep, I shrunk away from the fact that what my niece joyfully rambled on about was what I ought to be thinking about also.

Stuff like picking a place without stairs, a safe place for walking, and things one can do in a condo community like joining a group that sees plays, visits museums, or works on needle-point and quilting ... Oh no, my God, no! I don't want to make a list of things to do to keep busy, but that's what my niece was doing.

BIG BIGGIE QUESTIONS: What if I'm alone? Hey, I can't think about that -- I do think about that -- I've gotta postpone thinking about who dies first.

Can I continue living in my current home with four flights of stairs, hard to open doors, locks, carpet, furniture, appliances? Oh my God, all the gizmos and utensils one uses every day that wear out, need replacement or repairs ... If there's another "Sandy?" and lights, heat goes out, no phones, no Internet, no fridge -- suppose the roof leaks, a window pane's smashed?

If I am alone, how do I handle it? Do I finish my life here, in my large home, or find a new home where help is more readily available? Who is going to help me at the end of my life? My son? Gee, he lives and works in California ...

What about hiring someone? Marta the maid? Could she be a housekeeper-nurse if I need help to stand, walk, breathe? Could Marta do all the things that one must do in order to keep a body functioning, if ... if ...?

What about funeral, cremation, money, possessions? Do I have to figure all that out right now? Can't I put it off and think about all that later?

Maybe ... probably ... Yes, yes, right now I'll just concentrate on where to live, stay here, and deal with whatever, whenever it happens.

I was a very green new leaf for quite a long time.

I became a beautiful autumn leaf, and enjoyed it for a very long time 

I need an adage -- a quote from a wise person, or some philosophical something-or-other that I can chant to myself, that supports what I am now.

Yes, yes!  

"Always put off for tomorrow, what you cannot do today." 


Alan Shaw said...

Thought-provoking stuff, Em - thanks. Love the last line :-D

Anonymous said...

Dear Em, I loved this piece. You put into words much of my own experience -- but I love the rebel spirit of it, the one which shudders to do what many people are doing and which we are all advised to do. I like very much how you describe the quandry not in generic terms, but exactly as it pertains to your own life: who will go first? Marta as maid becoming Marta as nurse? The shudder at a daily schedule of museum visits and quilting en masse. I support you completely. I too am going to face the music when it comes, and until then I'll keep my life for as long as I can. I am younger than you, but old enough to feel the reality of there being an end to all this some time. I send much love. I had trouble using my Google account when posting, so shall post as Anonymous, but here is my name and email: Marta Szabo
with warm wishes, Marta

Unknown said...

This is a very personal and disturbing subject, Em, and one we all have to think about eventually. You've written about it beautifully--I LOVE the bit about the leaves!!!--and I think your ponderings will help others in a similar situation.

A couple years ago I toured some senior apartments with my mother, and although she doesn't want to move to someplace like that, it didn't look too bad to my sister-in-law and me. It would be nice to not worry about the responsibilities of home ownership, have a restaurant on site if you didn't feel like cooking, a gym, movie room, whatever.

I guess perhaps it does put you into a certain mindset though; that you're leaving the normal flow of life and having to be "taken care of," that I don't like so much! Also, like you, I'm not much for "planned activities." I have ENOUGH on my own to keep myself busy FOREVER! :)

I know I only know you online, but you and John don't seem AT ALL ready for this. You're both busy and vibrant, and you seem to be functioning just fine, so yeah, I think you can put such worries off for a bit.

It is good to think ahead though. Great blog! <3

Anonymous said...

Good blog. With almost dying 3 years ago I was plunged into the life beyond our daily routines and had to buy my burial plot, make my funeral arrangements, write and sign directives, the list was hard to do but now that I am still living I find less stress about it-it is all done. So now I live each day at a time and each moment like it was my last. Yes, we must all be grown up about this and deal with what might happen tomorrow. kam

Ameer S. Washington said...

Perfect way to end it. Everything is truly unknown in life except death. You can spend your whole life and as you age, the rest of your life worrying. I say live for the moment, plan a bit, and hopefully have a little bit of luck along the way. None of us really knows exactly what we're doing anyway.

George Mc Grath said...

You planned for your future when young, do the same now!

Unknown said...

Me, you, we...... all afraid of "DEATH"indeed obvious to all of us as we all in this web of life....& material wants......once out of all the worldly pleasures with the subconscious mind.......DEATH a blessing to us all, than we not living in for this world........ but building our home in the world after DEATH........! the true reason for our life here, our main motto of life!What say DEAR!

darren4am said...

Hi Emily made me think about the future dont like to think about the fact that i am getting older and who knows how long i will have good health for i just concentrate at the present on getting by and doing all i can to look after my wife

Cara Lopez Lee said...

Great topic. I think about dying a lot, and it doesn't depress me so much as tick me off - I feel I need 200 years to do all I want to do. But considering my mortality also empowers me. When I remember that my time is limited, I put more effort into expressing myself fully in the moment. As for the future:our house isn't big, but I fully intend on living in a tiny place when I'm 80, and I've told my husband I want to be cremated when I die. And after the trauma of trying to feed my mom earlier this year when she was dying, I've told my husband that when I'm that close to death, I don't want him to feed me. Wow, huh? I've reached the point in life where the time ahead is probably shorter than the time behind, and I find it's a great motivator to prioritize what's important to me. Sometimes I'm tempted to envy young people, then I think, "We're all headed in the same direction. They're just at a different place on the time line."

Ella Quinn - Romance Novelist said...

I just had my 60's birthday and am, thankfully, still in very good health. But I do turn my mind occasionally to what happens later. My mom was in an assisted living community for the last few years of her life and liked it. Though to me, the place smelled of death. I don't know what I will do except live on my own for as long as possible. Tweeted.