In April, 2013, I wrote a blog about the experience of being 74 years old. I made the statement that, “Daily life is not without its aging reminders.” I gave some examples such as being offered a seat on a crowded bus, attending matinees rather than evening performances, being referred to in a waiting room as “that lady with white hair.” These are all the beginnings of feeling somewhat at variance with the world around me.
Now, three years later, a new phenomenon has shown itself.
In the past two months, at least four different people have asked me if we are still in our “own home.” The question makes sense, these are people I haven’t seen for a while. It’s a perfectly reasonable and interesting thing to bring up. And yet–the question is also a very heavy “aging reminder.”
Being in one’s “own home” in older age serves as a powerful symbol of well-being and independence in much of western culture. I remember my mother, then past age 90, responding to people’s concerns by saying, “I’m doing all right. I’m still in my own home.” Have Ed and I reached that point of vulnerability now?
Living into these later years definitely takes courage and fortitude, folks — definitely.