We each start life in the same way.
Once born, what happens next is a
crap shoot. Whatever mix of the
DNA cocktail one is served defines
innate physical and psychological
characteristics. The circumstances
surrounding our banal beginnings
slowly morph and modify how we
leverage our genetic amalgam. As
we evolve external factors spiced
up with a bit of luck make us who
we are. One thing is certain, each
of us has a choice to sink or swim.
Depending on kismet, our childhoods
differ dramatically. While we're born
who we are, our formative years alter
our natural instincts to handle reality.
Yet in the end, are we really all that
different? Everyone goes to school,
gets a first haircut, and falls in love.
Everyone suffers some sort of hurt.
Parents divorce. Bullies bully. And
some don't make the team. There is
not much difference to how we each
mature except how we individually
react and adapt to life's challenges.
Once we're adults, many assume
that they're prettier, smarter, and
much more unique than the rest
of the pack. The fallacy that our
lives are dramatically different
from others deludes most of us
for many years. Slowly youth's
invincibility fades after each of
life's bitch slaps. Then one day
we suddenly realize that almost
everyone has to learn the same
lessons. And that some struggle
with severe learning disabilities.
Life is cyclical. We all life, love, work,
and then suddenly disappear. What most
can't seem to accept is that in the end
there is an end. Like it or not, we all get
old and then we die. While that might
scare some of you I'm comfortable with
that fact. Yesterday we moved Frank's
ninety six year old Father and ninety one
year old Mother into an Assisted Living
Facility. It wasn't our decision. Dad told
us it was time to shift to the next phase
in life. His clarity of thought proves the
adage - not older but wiser.
Dodging walkers down a hallway lined
with railings, one has to wonder about
the future. The odds are in our favor,
Boomer life expectancy will extend
into our mid eighties. Given we're all
traveling, shopping, building dream
homes, and doling out cash to progeny,
one worries that we may run out of cash
about the same time the government has
to stop issuing Social Security checks.
Only one thing is certain, most of us will
end up in some sort of a group home. My
only question is, will I know where I am?
Several of my friends have invested in
mega elder care insurance policies that
guarantee they'll be well cared for no
matter what. The question is, will most
be brave enough to decide when, where,
and how that happens? My Mother was
a strong woman. She battled against all
odds while caring for my Alzheimer's
stricken father. One day she realized
that she could not longer do so. Shortly
thereafter she moved them into Assisted
Living. After Dad died, Ethel welcomed
the reality of own mortality. It was time.
The older one gets - the more important
clarity becomes. Like it or not we're all
in control of our destinies. Some fight
the ravages of time while others simply
age gracefully. To each his own yet in
the end, each of our lives will end. Just
like everything else in life, it's up to us
to decide when, how, and where to fade
away. If you believe that one's journey
is but brief, why not book a First Class
stateroom, order too much champagne,
and enjoy the ride to the end of the line?
Getting there is half the fun!