Boy, my friends are dropping like flies. Well, maybe that’s not the best metaphor for the fact that I’ve just had a second person I know move away for a retirement life elsewhere.
Last night was my monthly book club gathering. Or at least that’s what our small group of six calls it. In reality, we spend more time determining what we’re going to read next than we do discussing the actual book a month later. We all (to the most part – life can get in the way sometimes) faithfully read whatever that month’s choice is, bring our copy of it to that meeting’s living room, and place that copy next to us where it sits while we swill wine and solve the world’s problems. Our record for a sustained literary discussion is about fifteen minutes.
Yet, this gathering has its value. These are not all people I would see in the course of a typical week, and so I look forward to spending an evening with them. We are all of a certain age and share the common bond of having been educators. Also, the majority in the group have known each other since high school, and in some cases, earlier than that.
Last night had an underlying melancholy. This was to be the last time one of us would be there – she and her husband have sold their home of thirty-something years and are moving to a less expensive life in
– and the goodbyes were filled with finality.
As I drove home I thought about how most people connect change to the young: growing up, experiencing things for the first time, building families and careers. When we are young, if we are lucky, change is our friend.
The later part of life is regarded by the world as one of stasis; it sees elders as unchanging, sitting on the same couch in the same living room with the same opinions, interests, and lives.
In reality, those sixty and beyond see nothing but change. Incomes shift, our health fluctuates - we have so many adjustments to make. These changes aren’t necessarily all negative ones, but good or bad, the later part of our lives requires more flexibility of attitude and spirit than most people realize.