Who’s Going to Take Care of Us When We Grow Old?

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We are the generation that is never going to age. We are trekking through Thailand for our fiftieth and helicopter skiing and learning to cook in a yurt on the Tibetan plain. Our parents bestowed us with education and confidence and this unwavering belief that the world is our oyster, merely there for the taking. And then one day you wake up and notice the dialogue has begun to change.

The transition is subtle, like leaves rustling on an autumn day. The knee aches. You can’t quite remember the name of that song you love from the 80’s. Conversation at dinner parties takes on a midnight hue. All of a sudden our fabulous exploits are giving way to real-life worries about elderly parents and dementia, and who’s going to take the car keys away from Dad? So we change the conversation and open a new bottle of wine. This is not going to happen to us. Is it?

Next week my siblings and I will remember my father on the occasion of what would have been his 100th birthday. He played tennis until his 90th and was still blogging when he passed away at 95. He was such a stalwart figure, always quick with a martini and a corny joke. He made such an impression on his kids. Are we doing the same with ours?

me&dad

I look at my boys now, ages 18 and 21, and wonder if they can imagine me old. We’re not there yet and that’s a good thing. I see two young men in hot pursuit of their life dreams. And I’m pretty sure they think their dad is still chugging along just fine ā€“ traveling the world, whipping up dinners, showing up for Parents Weekend and living alone in a 5th floor walkup. They come home sometimes during break and it’s like it always was. I see the passage of time. They want dinner and take up every square inch of the apartment. I’m still the one taking care of them. Not their day to watch me. Yet. But what a great comfort knowing they will be when that day comes.

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