I am swimming in a sea of seniors.
Or more accurately, I am on a lifeguard stand, watching a sea of seniors, ready to jump in and save them at a moments notice.
The thing is – my seniors don’t need saving. The sea I am watching contains my mother, my dog, my cat, Earl, my elder relatives, Jim’s elder relatives, and Mick Jagger. (To be fair, Mick Jagger has never met me – but he’s often sung to me in the car). From my lifeguard stand I watch to see if anyone is in distress, or if anything that needs doing.
My seniors are swimming happily, merrily, faces up to the sunshine, splashing to their hearts content. Some have shed their middle-aged responsibility and have reverted to the light heartedness of teenage year. Orderly days have become more reckless, and words like ‘we should’ have been replaced by ‘what the heck’. Some have taken up new hobbies, and found new friends. Some have trouble walking, but keep walking anyway, because the only way you can move is ahead.
|Jed & Ed & a sunbeam|
The seniors don’t seemed worried, so I do their worrying for them. I call my mother and worry if she doesn’t answer the phone. At night, at home, I lie in bed and listen to the breathing. The 20 lb cat snores softly on the pillow next to my head. The basset hound, in his bed, snores somewhat more enthusiastically, and if he doesn’t I slip out of bed and rest my ear against his tummy. I don’t think he enjoys this – but I need to be reassured. I need to know he is breathing.
There was a time, a few years ago, where I didn’t know if I was going to stick around forever. I gave a lot of thought to not taking things for granted, and the eventuality of saying goodbye. These days though, I am invincible. But now that the world doesn’t revolve around me, I know that those dearest to me are getting a little long in the tooth.
I try to remember to live in the moment, and enjoy each and every day. I know that worrying is a waste of time, and I know that it steals from the present and robs the potential of joy. I know it in my head – but my heart is a different story. Several times a day, my heart aches of hoping that nobody I love will go away.
Oblivious to my worry – the seniors keep on swimming. My mother Violet continues to out perform me in aqua fit. Earl & Kathleen, with their happy late nights, put Jim and I to shame, Jim’s mom parties like a (classy) teenager, and Jed outruns me on the beach. It’s clear that all my lovely golden oldies are soaking up all that their lives have to offer. They're not looking for help.
It’s not the seniors that need saving. It is me.