Okay, so more than a year has passed and I still have no clue how to answer the simple question “Now What?” After 10 years of eldercare and daily interaction with my parents through the veil of dementia and the infirmity of old age, I’ve lost all connection with the person that I was before I began the journey, now more than 11 years ago.
The last time I was this unsure of who I was, I was 15 years old – hanging out in cemeteries, watching Harold & Maude over and over again, and going to midnight showings of Rocky Horror Picture Show.
So after spending a great deal of time and energy revisiting many of the familiar pursuits from my past and finding them unsatisfying and, in fact, utterly unfamiliar, I am finally resigned to starting over from scratch. Certainly, the experience of my past pursuits still informs my future choices. But I guess what is still not clear to me is how the time spent attending to the inevitable mortality of my parents is informing my current perspective.
With the passing of my parents, my own mortality is now clearly visible. I was 25 when I first had the thought “I’m going to die someday.” It was remarkable at the time. To be sure, I had my doubts about making it to 30. Now, at 53, mortality is not a surprise, but rather, an inevitable direction that simply requires choosing a course. That is, it is not about when, but about how. Will I ‘rage against the dying of the light’? Or will I be be taken by surprise, in the midst of some all consuming pursuit.
It isn’t about morbidity. I’m not really that concerned about dying. But I’d like a roadmap that makes sense.