In the checkout line at the grocery store yesterday, a frail and ancient looking woman was standing behind me. She slowly loaded her little container of yogurt, a package of dark rye crackers, a one-litre carton of milk and two apples onto the belt. I thought about the enormous amounts of fruits and vegetables, the vats of milk, the stacks of yogurt tubs and all the other food stuffs that I regularly buy and cook to nourish my family.
Something about the little old lady’s very small purchases made me feel sad. It seemed so lonely and declining. I have always enjoyed feeding my family and it struck home how that need is drastically shrinking as fewer of us live here. Appropriately adjusting what I buy and cook is a challenge. The fact that in 3 ½ years Max will be gone and I will be eligible for the seniors discount at Shoppers is just plain crazy talk. Looking at the woman behind me, I felt like I was looking at what was ahead of me.
And then I adjusted my lens. I have always wanted to live to be a grand centurion. I think that would be exciting. And I want to be tooling around buying my own groceries (but not with a drivers licence), living in my own place, feeding and caring for myself, presumably like the woman standing in line behind me. Having reasonable health and mobility means you are one of the fortunate, and adventure is available if you chose it.
Don’t get me wrong, getting old sucks – everybody says so. Reading glasses are already my best friend, recklessness is a thing of the past because when I get hurt it is MONTHS before it stops hurting. And God help me if I need to sneeze without warning. But sure as the leaves are turning, time stops for no-one and adapting to life’s changing seasons is fundamental. So when the leaves fall and you can’t glory in their beauty any more – rake a pile and play in them. Alone doesn’t mean lonely and decline doesn’t have to be a downward spiral. There are many journeys ahead. And I do love the journey. And as far as buying groceries for one –well, come what may.