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!


Raybeard said...

Turning from your very contemplative text above, Ron, that was a very chalk-and-cheese programme you'd been to - Stravinsky, Chaikovsky and R-K? Was it devised in....erm...'homage' to a certain 100th anniversary this year?

Jon said...

A very thought-provoking post, Ron, and you've touched on many things that have been haunting me for years. I always thought life would be easy in my old age (not that I'm exactly old..*smile*). But it's a grim fact that things get more difficult and complicated as we grow older.

Downsizing is indeed a good idea - even though it's very difficult to do. I not only have all of my junk, I also have a lot of my parent's stuff. It's all piled in the garage, rotting away. I have absolutely no place to put things. The shack where I'm living now in TN is three times smaller than my house in Texas was.

A lot of bad things happened to me in Texas and I lost lots of money - which is why I'm now living in poverty in TN. Life never goes the way we planned, and it inevitably kicks us in the way or another. Sorry for sounding so depressing....

The weather has been beautiful here. It was very warm last week (in the high 80's) but now things have cooled down. The trees are just beginning to turn colors and I love it.
I'm admittedly envious that you have tickets for the Philadelphia Symphony!

Harry Hamid said...

I'm a few years behind you, but I have a lot of clients at my job who are contemplating the same things as you. We spend so much of our lives trying to acquire stuff that when it comes time to simplify, it tends to make people wonder why they've spent so long trying to get more.

I worry about whether I'll get pushed into a corner of some facility in the end. I can't spend that much time worrying about such a thing, I guess.

Ron said...

Yes, celebrating Russian composers week. My favorite composers.

Ron said...

Downsizing is going to be one of the hardest tasks I have yet to complete. I've been downsizing for about ten years now but I still have a lot of STUFF. Some of which I never want to get rid of, too many fond memories. I have a hard time getting in the mood for sorting through what I want to keep and what has to go. Never seems to be the right time.
I'm sorry you lost a lot of your things when you moved. What a shame. I thought for sure some of those things would eventually show up.
All the years I lived in Philadelphia never once was I to the Philadelphia Orchestra. Went my the music academy many times but never in except once for a Brasil 66 concert in 1966. I paid a lot of money for good seats for this showing. I'm looking forward to the event very much.

Ron said...

I saw my friend Bob M. "pushed into a facility in the end." We often talked about that scenario and how neither one of us would let it happen but it did happen to him. Gradually over the years. At the end he couldn't talk, just groaned and grunted. I've often wondered what went through his mind and if he knew what was happening to him. Such a shame. I do not want to go that way and will do everything I can to prevent such a sad end to my live.

pat888 said...

Ron - a sobering entry. It's Thanksgiving up here in Canada land this weekend. I know, our holidays are usually synchronized with yours. But here we are still enjoying summer like weather and celebrating thankfulness. And while your blog reminds us we're all on a path - I develop more and more an attitude of gratitude each passing year. I consider myself an extrmely lucky guy. With your friendship, my comfortable lifestyle, my residence in Hamilton, my family - I can go on. With all of life's ups and downs I think for the most part I'm still floating on top. And I think you are too.


Marie said...

I along with others I'm sure, have been waiting to hear about your trip to Pat's, so c'mon Ron, what did you do in Hamilton? Have a great day and don't fret about tomorrow, it'll take care of itself and what will be, will be......

Ron said...

Thanks for the "nudge." Check out my post today. Hopefully tomorrow will take care of itself. But not without a little guidance from me (smile).

Ron said...

Another unusually warm day here in southern Delaware. So looking forward to real autumn weather. Like you I am thankful for the life I (we) are living now. Happy Thanksgiving!

Jane Karwat said...

Prime seats, Folks. Ron, I love that line. I am 65 at the end of October and am considering downsizing. I think you do as you get older. Very nice post.

Bea said...

Enjoy Philly! (Love that town, too.) Downsizing is key. I am not there yet, but careful to not keep accumulating things I do not need. My mother is just a bit younger than you. She's yet to downsize. Her hubby is adamant that they live in a huge house with too many rooms. I'm not sure why. They rarely have house guests.

I could see myself living in a swank condo like Pat's place. We'll see what the future yet holds.