Seniority

October 10, 2023

General

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We still subscribe to the Lawrence Journal-World newspaper. Becky uses it to see what TV channel the KU games will be on (if any) and checks for grocery ads and coupons. I don’t read it. An old high school buddy of mine who also lives in Lawrence was a prof in the journalism school for many years. He called it the Lawrence Journal-Rag. Because of the paper subscription there’s also a digital subscription, and I let them send me daily emails that tell me what the headlines are in certain categories. (I’m getting close to the point of this story). The headline categories are “News Headlines”, “Police Blotter”, and “Obituaries”. The only one I actually open every time is “Obituaries”. You see, I’ve arrived at that age when people I know have begun dying.

After you hit 65 there comes a point in nearly every conversation with someone else in the same boat when somebody remarks, “Ever notice how we always end up talking about our health?” Yes, I’ve noticed that.

When you hit 70 your contemporaries start dying off. Dear old Dad was fond of remarking, as he approached 90, that all his friends were dead. He was proud of his age. Nevertheless, it killed him not long afterward.

I know a number of people whose family live within relatively short distances, like an hour’s drive or less. There’ll be brothers and sisters in their 65+ years with maybe one or two of their parents, along with spouses and children and grandchildren, maybe some aunts, uncles and cousins. A sizeable number will gather at someone’s house for Thanksgivings and Christmases and other holidays and family events and gatherings. Those who reach tottering age and are either home bound or nursing home bound aren’t lonely; they’ll be visited by somebody in the family probably every week, certainly once or twice a month. Somebody will drive them to the family gatherings. I don’t see this in the cards for us. We can’t afford to move to California where our other family members live. They aren’t about to move to Kansas where we live. At some point in the not too distant future we won’t be able to tolerate the physical demands of flying back and forth to visit them. Then we’ll totter, alone except for each other, for however long it takes, and, finally, die alone in Kansas.

So, that’s it. Seniority. It sucks. Kinda wish it had sunk in a couple decades ago. It might’ve motivated me to do a few things differently. But I was always pretty much absorbed in the moment. There are speakers who get paid to tell us about the advantages of living in the moment and how to do it. I’m thinking they’re full of shit, and somewhat richer than me. On the other hand, if I had the money, maybe it would be worth finding out how to be happy in the moment while slobbering down your chin in the nursing home while the orderlies wait for you to kick the bucket and make room for another lonely slobbering senior.



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