Archive for August 2nd, 2017

“The mind is willing, but the flesh is weak.” There probably isn’t a single retired person who hasn’t used that line at least once since entering the outer lobby of God’s waiting room. For example, my car is at the auto repair shop today. That shop is only three miles away. It would please me greatly to jog or walk, as the case might be, to pick up the car rather than have one of the mechanics drive to the house and my having to drive him back. Yes, it would please me greatly…ain’t gonna happen…no matter how much my mind would like to do this, I’m aware that I (a) I couldn’t jog down the driveway, (b) I couldn’t walk to the end of my own street, and (c) I could cause myself severe discomfort and probably hospitalization if I even thought too long or hard about doing it in the first place. This is fact. Old people don’t think of themselves as old. We believe we can run a 10K in 45 minutes…we can’t. We believe that we can still stand up at the plate and hit a curve ball…we can’t. We believe we can drive a golf ball 250 yards…we can’t. We believe, we believe, we believe.

There was a time when I could hit that curve…I could never drive a golf ball. As we age, it’s wonderful to have those expectations of ourselves, but the truth is, we are damned to lowering our expectations if we expect to survive to our next birthday. I asked a few friends how they felt about “getting up there,” and how they spend their time in the “days of dotage.” One pal wrote, ”My activities would be of no value to you as I lead a very dull lifestyle. My day starts at around 5:30 am, not because I want to be up at that hour, but nature calls, and I haven’t wet the bed in years. It’s only after relieving myself that I’m awake enough to understand that I hurt too much to go back to sleep. Morning coffee is next on the list, along with attempting the crossword puzzle that was in last night’s newspaper…this in an attempt to stave off senility…or to keep my current state of mind from wandering any further away. Usually, I say ‘to hell with it, and cheat on the crossword puzzle. Finally, I get to my e-mail, checking to see all the great things on which I can save money…but don’t need, and all the lonely hearts who are dying to meet me. My wife gets up and who knows when or where we will go or what time we’ll get back. Since she doesn’t allow me to go in most of the stores, I stand outside and pester other shoppers. Once we get home, I check the obits in the paper, and if I don’t find my name, it’s time for a drink…then dinner – in or out – and a little TV. Since most of the stuff sucks, I either fall asleep in the chair or head off to bed by 11, asking myself, “what the hell did I do all day to be so tired.?” Then I say thanks for the day and hope to hell I wake up to do it all again the next day.”

Other friends are not so fortunate. I have three friends whose spouses are in various stages of dementia. The days of spousal love are gone, and the days of care giver love have arrived. As I’ve mentioned in several pieces, being a care giver becomes a fulltime job. A great deal depends on the stage and the type of dementia through which the spouse is going, nonetheless, it becomes a burden that only true love can survive. I pray for my friends…and their spouses. Unlike caring for someone who is terminally ill from cancer, ALS, MS, or some other degenerative disease, all of these folks are ambulatory and must be watched carefully for wandering is a real possibility.

Heard from another friend, and this geezer – he’s older than I am – is still working. Well, he does volunteer fundraising for several organizations. That does not mean, however, that he neglects his golf game, still trudging around the 18 holes at least three times a week. Thankfully, his spouse is also an avid golfer, and from what I’ve heard through the grapevine, is now challenging him around the greens.

I continue to insist that no one should retire without a plan to help keep them busy…in the short run, the medium period, and the long term. If someone wants to travel in their retirement, great, but you must have the cash as well as the desire. A woman at the gym just came back from touring Sweden and Norway. She found it difficult to believe that I’d never been to Europe. “I’d like to see more of our own country,” I told her. She seemed to find that rather parochial, and, I believe somewhat plebian, but that’s okay…guess I’m just a country boy at heart. I’m quite certain that the castles of Germany, France, Switzerland, and elsewhere, the pyramids of Egypt, and the jungles of the Amazon are thrilling to some. However, I’ve seen the Grand Canyon and Yosemite, and I’ve stood atop Pike’s Peak, looking back to Kansas and its sparkling waves of grain. I’ve driven through the desert of the Southwest, and stood in the snow in Atlanta, Georgia, and I’ve walked on beaches in Florida and Maine, but the USA still holds a great deal of mystery to me. So, I guess I’ll just write a bit more in the blog, go to the gym, do a little gardening when I can, latch hook when I can’t, and just work like hell to stay alive. If that’s not to be, shoot, I’ve had a pretty good run. Hope everyone out there can say the same.

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