Saturday, October 07, 2017
Thoughts On A Warm Autumn Day
Another unseasonalbly warm day here in southern Delaware.
I have bulbs to plant, debris to clean and fresh air to breath. But I cannot do it with these 80 to 90 degree temperatures.
Fall is probably my favorite time of year. Probably because that's when my birthday falls (no pun intended). Yes folks, I will be 76 years old in just a few short weeks. And I ask myself, why am I still alive?
Thursday night at work I was talking to one of our regular guests about life, and death. This is one of the many things I like about my hotel job. I meet a lot of people, some of which I have made lasting friendships. They are the guests who return year after year. And since I've been at the hotel going on eleven years now, I've made quite a few friends.
This guest, his wife died a few years ago. I asked him how he was doing. He's a few years older than I. He said he sold his home and moved into a retirement community. I discuss these things with others who are my age and in similar circumstances. Bill just turned 89 years old. Odds are that I will survive him. What will I do?
Will I continue to live in this 5,268 square foot home with four bedrooms and four bathrooms and an acre of lawn to maintain? Do I want to rattle around in this house . . . . alone? Yet I can't imagine living with anyone other than Bill. God, it took me so long to train him and I'm still working on it.
While visiting Pat in Hamilton (Canada) a few weeks ago, I took in his new living arrangements. He now lives in downtown Hamilton in a condo of a renovated luxury hotel. His condo is small but has everything one (a single older man) could ask. I could see myself living like that. Of course I would have to get rid of a massive amount of THINGS I have accumulated over my past seventy-five years. Hard to do but not impossible. Yes, I could see myself living that downsized lifestyle. But could I afford the monthly maintenance charge? That's the catch folks, when you get older there's always a catch. I doubt if I could afford those monthly maintenance charges.
I'm used to a lifestyle now that I can afford by working part-time to supplement my income and Bill's retirement income. Once both of those sources of income are gone, my lifestyle would probably have to undergo some radical changes.
For most of my life I've been poor. No exaggeration, I've been poor. There have been two short periods that I enjoyed a comfortable standard of living but never anything luxurious by any means. One period was when I left one bank where I worked and was collecting severance pay while working at another bank. Another period has been the past few years in which I inherited a small amount of money from my Mother's estate in which I was able to pay off our mortgage. During these periods I have often thought "So this is how the other Half lives?" Nice!
But no complaints here, no recriminations or "what ifs?" I've had a good life. I've been luckier than most. I'm way past my sell by date. However, I do have to think of the next (final) chapter of this life adventure than began at 9:30 AM on a November Sunday morning in West Chester, Pennsylvania. As I discussed with the guest at our hotel, I'm not afraid of dying, just concerned (as was he) of how I'm going to get there.
In the past few years I've seen the long, protracted and humiliating deaths of two of my very close friends. Friends who I have discussed this very subject with. They didn't want to go "that way" and yet they did.
I don't know how I'm going to depart this earth but one thing I know for sure. I have another trip coming up at the end of next month. A trip to my old home town of Philadelphia. I will be reunited with my friend Pat. Pat has also fallen in love with Philadelphia. I've already secured the tickets to attend our first Philadelphia Orchestra Symphony. Prime seats folks. At this time of my life, it's all prime seats.
Have a great day!