Every day, we get a little bit older. Every day, the people around us get a little older. There’s a young woman who lives in my building. I remember the day she came home from the hospitol. In a month, she’ll be graduating high school. She got older.
There’s another woman in my building. I met her when she formed the building book club. She was 55 then, not much older than I am now. She was a practicing therapist and an avid bird watcher,- divorced by choice, with absolutely no interest in remarriage. She was living a rich fulfilling life.
She retired as a therapist five years later, age 60. And at age 60, she wrote a book. Over the next few years she became an active fund raiser for causes she believed in. Her secret dream was to be a stand up comedian- and she began performing at amateur nights. To watch her onstage was mesmerizing- she was having so much fun. Her behavior post 60 was what my teenage daughter would refer to as goals.
A few years later, things began to change. It was a small thing at first- she had always brought fruit to club meetings, and suddenly she stopped. I like fruit as a snack, so I began bringing fruit. And she yelled at me- told me fruit was her thing. Normally I’m a huge fan of conflict, but this particular issue wasn’t worth my ire. I just brought something else and book club went fruitless.
A few months later she quit the book club she lovingly formed and cultivated. The woman who once embraced all genres suddenly only wanted to read novels of espionage-which was odd in that she had always abhorred books like that.
Fast forward a year. I saw her in the lobby of my building. She pulled me aside and said:
“Someone has been taking things from my apartment. I’m missing things.”
I asked her if she told the super, and she replied that it was the super who was taking things.
What do I do? Part of me is thinking, she’s a little older, she could be misplacing things. I knew that her family had recently hired a companion to help her during the day and I certainly didn’t want anyone taking advantage of her. I knew her son came by weekly to check on her, so I left a note with my doorman.
Her son called. He was happy that I was watching out for his Mother’s well being. He explained that he did a weekly inventory of his Mom’s belongings, and everything was accounted for. The only thing missing were little bits of her memory.
I’ve watched this amazing woman for years. She lived her life and did the things she wanted. Her bucket list is all crossed off. So why am I a little bit heartbroken?
Maybe it’s harder to watch someone else get older. Maybe I worry that this is my fate 15 years from now. Maybe I worry that one day my daughter will be taking inventory of the things in my apartment. It’s probably a compilation of all of the above.
So what’s the message? Live, love, enjoy. Eat, drink, dance, sing. Thats all I’ve got. Perhaps, that’s all we need.