“None of us are getting out of life alive.”
So, goes the natty witticism. Of late, I’m getting frequent reminders of its veracity.
I’m 52. So, parents and their siblings are getting on a bit. I’ve lost several aunts and uncles already, and a few more are looking distinctly creaky. Coincidentally, I have moved to a favourite retirement island, and play golf, a game that is often a mainstay of retirees. My social circle therefore includes an amount of people chugging on a bit too.
My Mum has been a bit unwell, and is, as I type, in hospital, in the UK. She is blessed with wonderful neighbours, who are doing their level best to look after her, one of them even keeping her beloved dog Teddy in their home. Getting reliable information is a trial from abroad. The hospital is understaffed and overstuffed. Doctors have their hands full helping patients, without the added hassle of providing telephone updates to worried nexts-of-kin. It’s a frustration.
While I fret about the burden falling on kind-hearted neighbours, which should more fairly fall upon me, the universe has found a way to restore balance. One of our neighbours here begins treatment for cancer this week. As she’s on her own, the Doctors have recommended she go to a nursing home for the duration of the treatment. Mrs L has been running around trying to make all of that happen. I’ll be driving the lady to the nursing home in a day or two. Another friend cancelled a lunch date, as she’s feeling rotten after a dose of chemotherapy.
All very jolly, it isn’t.
Coincidentally, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about what things I want to do between now and death. Inconveniently, I don’t have a date of death to work with; it could be any time from now until, say… 50 years. The smart money will be closer to now than 2075.
There’s a good book on the subject, called Die with Zero, which takes a methodical approach to this. A lot of the advice is qualified, and perhaps self-evident, but I am struck by the way that I tend to avoid thinking about death. For example, I’m a golfer. There are a whole bunch of golf courses that I would like to play before I die. Someday. In the future. Leopard Creek in South Africa for example. Die with Zero urges me to consider whether I might enjoy flying to South Africa and playing golf more NOW or if I’m lucky enough to reach 80.
The point is, that if one has an ambition to go free-climbing in Colorado, its likely (although not inevitable) that a younger person will be better-equipped to do that and therefore it makes more sense to spend money on such a thing now - rather than later.
That’s the nub of it.
So, I’m off to play golf.
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