We are in a rush to grow up, be independent, drive off toward our future, have all the things we have dreamed of having, grow to a perfect size, with perfect features, and live our fantasy life with a perfect mate, in a perfect house with adoring children who behave better than we did as children.
At each stage we check off the markers:
1. driver's license
3. ideal job
4. meet and marry the girl/boy we dreamed about
5. house of our dreams
10 Retire in comfort
Soon, for most of us, the hurdles we encounter are reminders that tomorrows may not be too many.
So much of our time is dedicated to doctors' visits, surgeons' procedures, and only after these are plugged in, we may see an opening for a visit to our children out of state. I have a good friend who still has constant visits with her relatives. She lives part of the time within driving distance to each of her children and she doesn't ever miss any special occasions like birthdays and anniversaries.
Each time we visit our children we have the feeling that that occasion may be the last time we can physically make that trip. Purchasing new clothes and household furnishings seem such a waste if our health continues to change the way we have lived so far.
Last year, we decided to upgrade the garden, add pots and a driveway that would accommodate a wheelchair in the front, and tall garden boxes so we didn't have to bend or get on our knees to grow food in the back yard by the lake. We have enjoyed each and every change.
Still, the weight of that decision was immense. Were we going to live in this place so long to warrant such expenses? Would it have been more prudent to plan for a possible nursing home? Will these extra changes enhance the value of the house to a future buyer?
We keep returning to topics such as moving closer to one or the other of our remaining children, even just moving to be closer to doctors and hospitals.
Growing old and decrepit was never a worry of mine. Any advice I received about retirement was about having lots of money, as though money was the cure for everything. According to the latest statistics we'll all outlive our money!
Unfortunately, most of us will outlive most of our faculties.