In one of the latest (and best) books I’ve read, Lit, Mary Karr describes her elderly mother ‘She’d quit painting, quit buying pretty clothes. Petal by petal, she’s been shedding herself.’
This really hit home and I brought it up the last time my friends and I went for a walk. All of us are dealing with aging parents in some stage of decline. I lost my father about 14 months ago and, luckily, my Mom is doing pretty well. Very well, actually, when compared with my friends’ remaining parents. But the metaphor is still applicable and I hope to keep it in mind as I age.
I already see signs of it creeping in. For example, I judge my Mom’s almost total disinterest in cooking while, in the next breath, congratulate myself for only having to prepare 3-4 meals/week now that the kids are out of the house. As far as my Mom goes, it seems that every effort that can be cut out is being cut out and I worry I’m destined to take the same route? I’m already thinking about moving into a house low maintenance home. I’m somewhat obsessive about saving money.
Hopefully, not. I will try to remember Mary Karr’s line ‘Petal by petal, she’s been shedding herself. ‘ and keep it from being so. It will require some vigilance. Maybe I’m overreacting. For me, saving money is a very active pursuit. I might even go so far as classifying it as a hobby. A low maintenance home will make it easier for us to travel. It will probably make it easier for Jay to keep working. (And, speaking of, I recently got a job – quite the opposite of retiring!)
In other areas of our lives, I’m planning to take a more active role – for example, babysitting our niece once a month so my brother and sister-in-law can go out, driving up to Boulder, Vail or Fort Collins every month to take one of our kids out for dinner. I’m contemplating getting a FitBit, and taking golf lessons, and signing up to learn how to play PickleBall at the rec center where I work, swim and go to yoga class.
Another thing that might keep me engaged longer is the fact that I’m an older mother than my Mom. At 29, she’d finished having her kids, while I’d just started. I’m about 12 years behind her and, hopefully, that will force me to stay on my toes!