A commercial for a senior’s retirement living home this evening brought on an impromptu conversation between my son and I that has me thinking.
The setting for the commercial was the standard, happy and content seniors smiling and laughing and enjoying their golden years. Board games, a communal dining room with a chef that serves “gourmet meals”, lawn bowling and “supervised shopping excursions and outings”. At the same moment both my son and I voiced the sentiment of “I hope to all that’s holy that I never end up in a place like that”. It’s not that it’s a horrible place or that it’s a bad existence… but that’s it, it’s an existence.
There’s the concept that, at that stage of life you’ve worked, you’ve toiled and you’ve earned a time of ease and not having to worry about all the minutiae of life and struggles anymore. No more worrying about meals and bills to pay and chores. Just sit back and enjoy and be taken care of as you wait. For death. For your life to run down and your flame to just extinguish. But let’s think about that… it’s the horrifying sense of being “put out to pasture” that gripped me as I watched the commercial.
My son pointed out that the fact is that in that situation, you would be with everyone else from your peer group. His next remark being that the last time he was in a grouped setting with his peer grouping was high school and that wasn’t all that great. He actually shuddered…
Which begs the question; where are all the seniors with ear tunnels, tattoos and nose piercings in that commercial? I watched the people in the setting and thought how I wouldn’t want to spend every day, day after day, with people that I wouldn’t choose to spend time with now. Did all these people change as they aged? Were they homogenized by the years to the point that they just exist together in the end regardless of whether or not they would have ever chosen to socialize at any other stage in their lives? Do they look around and think “why am I having dinner with these people?” Or, almost worse, does that not even matter? Have they lost who they were?
It’s a sadness that pervades me when I think about someone living out a life of seeming surrender. Surrender to not living how they want or true to who they are. Of giving up. That, to me, is worse than the inevitable end they’re all whittling their time away towards.
Smiles started early today after I picked up Son 1 from work at 7am and a conversation with him, Son 2 and myself ensued at home regarding kitten names. I’m getting 2 female kittens tomorrow and made the mistake/genius move to ask for their assistance in name options.
As I should have expected, it turned ridiculous quickly ;). Son 1’s idea to name them names of colours that they aren’t resulted in the somewhat catchy “Sanguine and Periwinkle”…. then onto names that are decidedly non-sweet and kitten-like: “Sadist and Malevolence”…. I actually kind of like Malevolence, hmm
The agreed upon standard now is that they should have titles and full names, including middle and last names so the options are almost endless…
I was visiting the lower mainland this past weekend and stayed with my 2 oldest boys. They’re 21 and 19 and live together in a basement suite that captures that visualization perfectly… I have lots to be proud of with my boys; they’re smart with money and managing their time, they have a great work ethic and are polite and punctual and responsible. Good heads on their shoulders in many ways. Yet in some ways, they surprise me… case in point – laundry.
I was explaining to my son (we’ll call him Son 2 since they have asked me to never mention them by name; apparently being a blog subject isn’t all that thrilling 😉 )… anyways, I was explaining to him that I’m looking for a new dresser because I’m not loving the one I have now. We went strolling through IKEA with him and I (and Son 4 in tow) debating the virtues of this one and that one. I am highly picky lately when it comes to what I bring into my home…I have to love it or it doesn’t come into my life. Life is too short to live with furniture that makes you say “meh”. Needless to say he was not enjoying the fact that I found something I didn’t like about everything we looked at. The one I loved was just a little too tall (my fat older cat would never be able to reach it and make her way to the window) the one that I loved the colour and lines was only 3 drawers (come on! who can live with only 3 drawers?!) or the one that I REALLY loved was $200.00 over budget. So, as we started to walk away from the dressers without a purchase my son shrugged and explained that I just didn’t understand how to “do” clothing storage… He explained it thusly:
The clean clothes come out of the dryer and are placed in the laundry basket
The laundry basket of clean clothes is placed in the bedroom (on the floor)
As you require clothing to wear, you take it out of said laundry basket and wear it
When it is soiled and requires washing it get placed on the floor…next to the laundry basket
Over the course of time (dependent on clothing needs) the laundry basket will empty and the pile next to it will grow.
When the laundry basket is empty of clean clothes simply put the dirty clothes on the floor into it and take it to the wash for laundering
And…. voila, the cycle begins again… no dresser needed!
Now why didn’t I think of that? I’ll have to get him to explain dishes to me next time I visit….