The Rusty Years
Yesterday involved a visit to the doctor to get my left wrist checked, it's been hurting a lot and some of the fingers are tingly/numb. At times the pain goes all the way up my arm. No, not a sign of impending heart-attack, got that cleared with my cardiologist on Monday. It is what one would expect when they've spent anywhere from 5-10 hours a day on a keyboard for the last 30 years - carpal tunnel syndrome. Lovely. For the present time I have a brace and short dose of steroids to see if it will settle down again, it has before. Will go back for re-evaluation in three weeks. Does this keep me off the keyboard? Well hell no, not at work, and definitely not for blogging! Life goes on.
Then there is the issue of the chronic back pain, and the worn out knee, and... and... and so forth - the indignities of getting older. John deals with more of it every year too, and we dread what shape we will be in at 70 or 80, should we live that long. Golden years they're not... more like the rusty years!
Thirty some years ago, when my then-spouse and I moved to New Mexico, I took a job as a receptionist/clerk for an insurance agent. He was a wonderful man in his late 50's. A retired cop from New York City, with a heavy Irish accent. His wife worked at the agency with him and they treated me like family. They had moved to the Southwest planning to eventually retire in the warm climate. They always talked about the places they were going to go and the things they were going to do when they retired. Even after thirty some years, they were still deeply in love with each other.
Then came a time when he needed cataract surgery, a simple enough procedure. When he went in for the pre-operative workup, they did the usual chest x-ray... and found spots on his lungs. Six months later this man who hadn't been sick hardly a day in his life, died of cancer. It was a tragedy, and a shock to all of us. All their plans for spending the golden years together never came to be.
I think about them often now, as we get older. We are at the ages they were then. We often fantasize about how wonderful it would be to retire, to not "punch the clock" anymore, to spend our days travelling, doing what we choose, and maybe some days doing nothing at all. Life has been a little harder for both of us, and we have no great amount of retirement funds saved up, so we will undoubtedly be working at least a few days each week in our senior years to have enough money to live on, but even having more than one or two days off sounds pretty wonderful at this point. The truth is, we are both just tired of the daily grind. We've done it for so long, and it isn't very exciting anymore. It sure would be nice if Social Security kicked in at 50 instead of 65.
Not trying to be Debbie Downer or just plain morbid, but my biggest fear is that when the day finally comes to have more free time to spend together, will both of us be well enough to enjoy it, and even more importantly, will both of us still be here? Scary thoughts folks, but that's just the way it is.
The only thing we can do in life is to not let our fears get the best of us. Take it one day at a time, cherish each moment spent together now, and make sure to stop and smell the roses along the way. It's far better to enjoy them now, than to wait for someday down the road and have folks sending them in your memory.
I keep thinking there's gotta be another way to live, rather than just working our lives away to pay the bills and make ends meet... working five days to earn two days of freedom; but for the life of me, I can't figure out what that is... so back to work I go, lunchtime over.