STAGES OF WITHDRAWAL FROM LIFE

Not To Be Considered a Depressing Post but it might be more interesting if you are in a ‘stage’ of life where age is rearing its annoying head. And it is about travel…eventually.

I worked in nursing homes as a resident advocate and as a social worker before returning to Albuquerque in 2000. In the Masters program at Augsburg College in Minneapolis and San Diego State University I partially focused on issues of the frail elderly. During my mom’s last years, I spent a lot of time with her at the nursing home. AND. I. am. getting. old.

Just establishing my credentials to talk about aging.

The first stage for me was when I realized I was strolling down, not up, a mountain of life that peaks at age 40 or 50 or 60—depending on how long you think you’ll live. Noting the physical changes to my appearance, all unattractive to say the least, but not really finding any differences emotionally or intellectually or for that matter in physical well-being. But had definitely started the slow stroll down the mountain of years.

NOW. I believe this Big Trip has launched a next stage of life. I mentioned in an earlier post a feeling of vulnerability I had not experienced before. So I have been thinking about this even as my excitement about the trip builds. Can’t really explain the feeling any better than to say that now I know in my very being that illness or accidents can more readily happen anytime (but the possibilities seem more frightening if I am in unfamiliar territory). I intellectually knew that before, but emotionally I did not comprehend it.  Does that make sense? It feels like I’m entering the physical wind-down stage. Only at the beginning, plan to stay healthy and travel a long time, but the stroll ‘down’ might be gathering momentum.

 Before my mom died her attention span had narrowed to the regularity of her bowel movements and when her children and neighbors would visit. Interest in world and community affairs, appearance, food, stories and even nature had receded. She did live to 92 so I do have a ways to go before that not-inevitable, but probably likely, contraction.

Now that I have the serious stuff like the Indian visa service and aging out of the way I am back to TRAVEL in the next post.

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