by Jackie King
I’m a writer, so I write. Sometimes I have to write what’s foremost on my mind. Today that happens to be writing as I grow older. If you’re a writer, everything is connected with your writing. And no matter what your age is today, one day you too, will be old. So this morning, instead of trudging ahead on my latest Work-in-Progress, I’m talking about my Life-in-Progress.
Arranging your life successfully as you age isn’t as easy as it looks. And I’m one of the lucky ones. I have two daughters in the area who are both willing to help. The problem is, I don’t want to be a pain in their backside. I must say that hard as I’ve tried, I have complicated both of their lives. But I make a discernable effort to minimize their problems.
Years ago I vowed that I wouldn’t unnecessarily cause my children pain. I won’t go into the history of why, just that this was my goal for dealing with adult children. Did I always accomplish this? Of course not. But with all honesty, I can honestly say that I’ve tried.
Here was my game plan when I hit about 75: Since I’m single, I sold my four-bedroom house and downsized to fit into a three-room apartment in a complex for seniors. My daughters helped me, but the decision was mine. Here are my self-imposed ground-rules:
The “treasures” that I spent a lifetime collecting are just “stuff.” Look at the need to shed them as a relief, not a tragedy.
No “meltdowns” allowed. (I had one rather serve collapse right after I moved. Luckily my youngest daughter was with me, and she was wise enough to just let me boohoo in her arms until I recovered my equilibrium.)
I had to try two senior complexes before I found the right fit for me.
I made up my mind that I’d be happy.
I adopted the motto: OLD IS COOL! Because it is. (imo)
I chose a drop-dead date when I would stop driving, and then sold my car to my youngest granddaughter. Her delight at having a bright red, sporty-looking car, sweetened the bitterness of this pill.
As with all of my decisions, I made up my mind not to grieve over what laws of nature governor.
My rule as a writer: NEVER GIVE UP WRITING.
Write something each day that it’s humanly possible. (Did I break this vow? Of course. But as soon as possible, I went right back to writing. And I’m not talking about my grocery list.)
Growing old is sometimes a challenge. One must reject bitterness, regret and loss, and then press forward with hope, courage and faith.
Now back to my new cozy with the working title of Corpse Under a Sagebrush. Which more than likely will change.