Sylvia Turns Seventy

Saturday, October 23, 2010



On Oct 3 my son made waffles for us – him, his wife, his daughter, my daughter and me.

Looking back from 75 to 70, these last five years have been a withdrawing, wrapping up advocacy, exploring unstructured time.

With intention, I slowly wound down my mental health and disability work, stopped following some lists and websites, tried to be reflective, to say no to further involvement. I made three ego-driven mistakes, twice involving myself in local mental health activities, once agreeing to present People Who at a State Department outreach meeting. I watched my expectations and anger and anxiety and disappointment.

I have hoarded airline reward miles, enough for two major trips, and airline and airport crowding and packing rules and pat downs have become inhibitors. I still sit on my pile of miles.

I was afraid of unstructured time, a blank appointment book, and have learned how quickly a day fills up when there is time to fill it, nooks and crannies cleaned, neighbors visited, phone chats, using the internet to follow up on words and ideas I didn't know about, … I have been startled at how fast tea dates and lunches out add to expenses, and amazed at how having nothing to do fills the days.

I have done lots of straightening, puttering at home, discarding and discarding more, most recently most of my hard copy advocacy materials. I've been reading, watching a lot of television (C-Span and soaps), have, most astounding to me, three new friends, and a comrade in my next door neighbor.

I have spent attention and time getting ready to die – making sure paperwork, wishes, and options for assistance are all in place, now is my time for separation and closure, for learning the art of dying well.


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