(Today’s blog is the first of a series of four entries that treat a matter that most older adults eventually face: How will we live well when that becomes difficult?)
Presently, Chris and I take care of ourselves, our capabilities not yet severely diminished. I think we’re ready for what comes next. We’ve followed the guidance of counselors, physicians, financial advisors and friends, putting in place what seem to be necessary support processes that will ensure our future wellbeing.
But I can imagine what it might feel like to be standing at the edge of what seems like a life stages cliff. Facing changes in lifestyle logistics that seem overwhelming. Responding to these stresses with fighting, fleeing and freezing. Worried and afraid that the consequences of our earlier life decisions are coming due. Thinking of ourselves as unworthy of others’ admiration or love. Becoming wary and defensive about this matter.
Some of us may be frozen in uncertainty about what to think or do next. Holding onto false notions of self-reliance. Pushing away others who want us to move towards the next stages. Avoiding what becomes more obvious each day: We can’t keep living this way for much longer. Petrified inaction gets to be a habit, and self-delusion reinforces our denial of the inevitable. Soon enough, we’ll need quality care.
Naming and facing those fears can be difficult. Logic and facts may not persuade us. We might not know how to express our deepest feelings, so we stay quiet about the subject We’ve never experienced this state of life before, but down deep we know that indecision and inaction don’t work. We also know that the best way forward is to acknowledge what’s coming, and to start finding a lifestyle that will carry us well into our coming stages of life.
We want to take those next steps, but need help doing that. The first task? Adjusting our ways of thinking.
(Next time: Rethinking this matter….)
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