So thinking about my previous post and considering what we have recently been through with her parents, my wife and I need to take a look at our own situation. Seems like a good place to start is with an honest assessment of health and health care needs (reality), followed by dreams and desires for our future, and time. I think I’ll start with time.
Hyrum Smith, of Franklin Planner fame once said, “We have all the time there is!” It’s true, but his point was that it’s entirely up to each of us how we use that time, hopefully to do those things that are most important to us. I met Hyrum at an Executive Excellence seminar back in 1985 and he told some great stories about managing time. One of my favorites was about his mother who decided at the age of 62 to go back to college and complete a degree. Her friend questioned her plan and said, “But you’ll be 65 when you finish!” Her response, “I’ll be 65 anyway!”
Exactly! Not one of us knows how much time he has left, and many of us let life pass us by while making other plans. Too many of us don’t spend enough of our time actually living, loving, sharing, and enjoying life, and shame on us for that. I’m sure that’s not God’s plan for us. I want to use my time wisely, but always with the realization that this could be my last day so my goal should be to live it well.
It’s a desire of mine to live well into my eighties and maybe even reach my nineties; but frankly, I’m a 63 year old overweight man, borderline diabetic with metabolic syndrome, heart arrhythmia, and coronary artery disease. I’m taking medication to manage cholesterol, glucose, hormones, and heart function. I’m working on lifestyle changes to mitigate or correct these health issues; but it’s likely considering my current health and my family history that I will need assistance with living at some point.
One of my dreams, owning a ten acre hobby farm in the country a half hour from the nearest hospital, is probably not a wise choice of lifestyle for me, but it could work and maybe even contribute to an improved health outlook. It’s been a dream of mine to build and live in an energy efficient home my wife and I custom designed for us. It’s also been a dream of mine to live in a home that would welcome grandchildren and other family visitors with enough space for large family get-togethers. Those dreams require a physically able person or couple to maintain the home and grounds. For a time we can handle that. However, over the long term, if I’m to achieve those dreams, my health needs imply that I have enough financial resources to arrange for in-home assistance with living, and for hired help in maintaining the place.
I’d also like to canoe or kayak, hike, bike, and write more, as well as camp, travel and be able to visit my children and grandchildren wherever they decide to settle. The latter three suggest some sort of RV living in my future. My wife and I have been campers for over forty years, the RV of choice being a pop-up camper. But I wouldn’t relish the thought of living in an RV for months on end. I think I’d prefer four to six week stretches of travel, returning to home base after each trip. Having the flexibility to travel and exercise like this suggests a trade-off with time required for home and grounds maintenance, hence my wife’s inclination toward condominium living.
What’s this assessment telling me? Well, maybe a nice sized condo with ample room for visitors and family get-togethers, decent parking, and access to local park and trail systems might be a reasonable compromise (see Sweetie, I’m getting there). What’s interesting about the condo idea is that many transitional living facilities present condo style living as their approach to “independent living” and the entry point to transitional living options. In other words, when you’re in independent living you’re in the system and have top priority for moves to assisted living and nursing care as the need arises.
Ouch, this all seems like quite enough to consider for one post; so for now, that’s what’s in the mental hopper. Besides, I probably better clue my wife in to all this pondering, she’ll need to catch up … hmmm … or maybe I’m finally catching up with her!