the lost man chronicles
the daily chronicle
Vestiges of Youth
Last night I walked home with my next door neighbor. A man in his sixties, he looks like he’s 70, but with the feisty energy of a 50 year-old he otherwise belies his looks.
Getting off the bus, he introduced me to another neighbor, “My old friend, Richard.” Dick was an old guy too, who reinforced that notion by talking about some “young guy—in his forties.” “A spring chicken,” I believe he called him.
Hunched over and just as grey as Mr. Frost, Richard set the pace with a lanky step-by-step that made me feel as if I were crawling as I stymied my promenade to stammer behind them.
They spoke of ailing and dying mothers who lived alone and vociferously complained of the hired hospice help; mothers, who despite their helplessness—one being blind, the other bed-ridden—were never satisfied because merely the idea of being helped bothered them.
Being a mere 35 (okay, okay, 36, with less than half a year shy of 37) I was both amused and alarmed somewhat by the conversation.
Not that this alarm has not rung before, for I bare witness daily to all the baby-boomers at work who are gradually making their way back to the womb. Bigger bellies, strange blathering, questionable decisions, and various other sundries of age, blaringly exhibit obvious projections of growing frustration, as they struggle with the fact that life refuses to slow down for them.
Moreover, I increasingly hear about everyone’s dying parents and those who refuse to fade away quietly; those who subsequently require care and dare carry on long enough until their own children begin to need much the same.
The whole rigmarole of my grey-haired colleagues and the subsequent mulling over issues related to age, moves me to ponder the merits of purposefully ending it all a little early. Just as the twilight of my life appears, and I’m incontinent, incompetent, and too incoherent for any of my loved ones to have a cogent conversation with me, it seems that going gracefully might be a better choice than bitterly fighting to survive the rest of the way.
Now, this is entirely a personal choice that I ponder here, and it is not in any way an advocacy for ending anyone’s life other than my own all too early—far from. Long live everyone.
It is however the meandering of an individual who is accustomed to living a full and vibrant life and who thus finds it difficult to imagine severely compromising that standard as he begins to become a burden on others.
And I know its all relative. I know that should I live long enough to actually have the privilege of pondering this dilemma, I’ll probably feel otherwise. I’ll probably likewise, speak of spring chickens and yearn what will then only be the vestiges of youth.
Oh, how the truth is so fleeting and fickle sometimes. It’s no wonder that wisdom is the reserve of the old; because as we get older there is less time and less energy to make the mistakes that alter the lessons of our prior years of error.
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