Circumstances and attitude – that’s what. And I really think attitude is stronger than circumstances. Of course, if you have a debilitating illness or some major accident that leaves you powerless, that will make things different. But some people do not have these things happen to them and they have given up and retreated into old age.
I do not want to be old before my time or even at my time. I have been thinking about the things that have caused me to age in the past few years. I was very ill 5 years ago, but I returned to good health and have lived my life. Illness did not age me.
Although my finances are very different from 5 years ago, I still manage to live life. I have made some bad decisions about where to live, but I am finally resolving that issue. I will be moving to an area that has a lot of people, cars, stores, hospitals, museums, and concerts. I might not be able to go to everything, but I will have a choice of how to improve my “living.”
One thing that I have learned in the last couple of years is that I cannot live in that beautiful little town or on that river with beautiful sunrises. I do not like being alone. And I have noticed I have started becoming a little old lady. My take on this – isolation and loneliness ages all of us. What is the greatest punishment the prisons give – isolation? This is punishment of the grand style and older people should not be sentenced to it.
Since there is no one around me where I live now, I sometimes see no one or speak to no one. If I did not have my dog, I probably would only talk to myself and my friends on the phone. This isolation has caused me to retreat into myself, ask questions about the purpose of my existence, feel desperate and out of control. My solution is to move, as I said earlier.
Illness, divorce, and poverty did not bring me down. It was loneliness. I started to age right in front of my eyes. I could not stop it and it took me a while to realize why. I have never been a loner; I have always had friends and acquaintances that enjoy the same activities as I do. Since moving to the place I am now, I have not made any acquaintances that lasted. In fact, there are many OLD people who live here and are just sitting and waiting, as life passes them by.
As we age, I think we need to have people in our lives – family, friends, or even strangers who live near us or interact with us regularly, i.e. doctors, pharmacists, cashiers, etc. This contact keeps us young and going strong. Once I relocate, I hope to get back a few years of that “aging” that occurred while I lived in isolation. And I probably will act a little crazy with all those activities to choose from. I have missed so much living and I am ready to get started now.