Monday, May 26, 2008

freedom and fret

My sweetheart sent me a text message to say his older brother (George) is terminal and is being moved to hospice. Reggie is the baby of the family and George is one of the two oldest brothers. There are three sisters between. For Reggie, this will be the first major loss since the loss of his parents. His father died when he was very young. His mother died at Christmas about 15 years ago. That holiday has never been quite the same since.

This time of life is such a mish-mash of freedom and fret. I feel alive and free to do whatever I wish. I am less encumbered by the worry of what others think of me. But I fret - about my parents aging, about how I will afford to retire, about whether to stay where I am or go somewhere new.

It is small comfort (but a comfort nonetheless) to talk with others who are in this same stage of life. I never once thought about it, even while I watched older friends lose siblings, care for aging parents and deal with retirement. I listened to their stories, but was unable to imagine myself in similar circumstances. I felt sympathy, but not empathy. As with other life experiences, it isn't real until it is my experience.

"The really frightening thing about middle age is that you know you'll grow out of it."

- Doris Day (1924 - )

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