Letting Life Do What It Wills

Perhaps, as some people have suggested, I think about getting old too much, but when one is alone, there won’t be anyone to help when the time comes, so it’s important that I think about these things and make plans when I can. It’s not that I am specifically preparing for old age, but anything I have to do the house, I make sure it will accommodate me if I develop problems.

I’m not the only one who, when changes have to be made, make those changes with age in mind. That these people are generally widows or widowers might have something to do with it, perhaps because we know how life can change in an instant. I haven’t broached this subject enough to know the truth of it, but those I know who are still mated don’t think about these things as much as we who are alone.

My preparations started back when I was healing from a devastating arm/elbow injury. The surgeon told me there was nothing I could do to hurt the arm but that others could, so he cautioned about letting people get hold of my hand or arm. And he told me, flat out, “Don’t fall.” To that end, I removed any loose throw rugs, which are some of the most common fall hazards, and I made sure that my shower has hand rails since bathing and showering are dangerous not only to older folks, but to anyone.

It’s not that I’m paranoid; I’m simply aware of fall hazards. Besides, it’s so much easier to remain healthy if one remains upright. Too many older people begin a downward spiral after a fall.

The workers who come (occasionally, anyway) to help fix up my house and yard understand my wariness because they have elderly mothers with mobility issues. In fact, the fellow who came today brought his mother’s wheeled walker to make sure the paths we (I say “we” as if I am doing part of the work, though I am merely the check writer) are putting in are wide enough for walker use. To be honest, I don’t intend ever to have to use a walker, but neither did anyone who now needs one. It’s just that if I am going through all the trouble and expense of making my yard not just attractive but safe, I might as well look to the future and do the job once rather than finding out in decrepit old age that the paths are too narrow to do me any good.

The walkers with a seat are really great; I wish my father had consented to use one. He did walk inside the house, but he refused to walk outside. He said he got too tired. But if he had used a walker, he could have gone for a pleasant walk and then rested before he returned home.

Again, it’s not that I am planning on being decrepit; in fact, I am doing whatever I can to ensure that I’m won’t be, but life has a way of turning out vastly different from what we planned. By doing this work now, I can forget about it and let life do what it wills.

Of course, I reserve the right to whine if my life turns out to be something other than what I might wish for.

***

What if God decided S/He didn’t like how the world turned out, and turned it over to a development company from the planet Xerxes for re-creation? Would you survive? Could you survive?

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4 Responses to “Letting Life Do What It Wills”

  1. Judy Galyon Says:

    I totally understand your planning. I imagine you will have hand rails along your sidewalks. That is great planning. I wish I didn’t have the problems I have now, but am grateful for the house I have. Hope you stay well & healthy.

  2. Estragon Says:

    It seems to me this is an example of the Pareto principle:
    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pareto_principle

    Most of the gain in utility is had at little cost (or none, if thought is valued at zero). Adding a bit of width, if needed, to a walkway to accommodate a walker costs very little relative to the cost to retrofit later. The wider walk takes little or nothing from its utility to an able bodied person. Surely something at the skinny end of the cost curve, and the fat end of the utility curve.

    Is it possible that our resistance to something so obviously right is based on our resistance to the idea that we might need it?

    • Pat Bertram Says:

      I didn’t know the name of the principle but I was aware of it from a retail standpoint. 20% of merchandise in a store accounts for 80% of sales, but stores who only carry that 20% do poorly because even though people would end up buying one of those products anyway, they want the seeming choice of the other 80%.

      And yes, the difference in cost in walkway width is negligible — the only cost coming from an extra wheelbarrow or two of crushed rock. In the case of the sidewalk going from the house to the garage, it’s a ramp rather than a stoop with stairs, and it was actually cheaper.

      As for your question, I think you’re on the right track. I notice that people who are around those with the walkers that can be used as seats have no objection to using the walkers as a chair when the owner isn’t using it. It makes me wonder if able people who use the devices so casually will have less need for them, while those who are resistant to the whole idea of being less than abled will have more need? Or perhaps it will just seem like it because of the resistance factor.

  3. Peggy Murphy Says:

    Very happy you are thinking ahead. I’ve been in my house since 1966, and over the years, have made changes. I can’t believe how young I was when I first moved in here. My old porch with the steps is gone, replaced by a great porch and walkway that gently curves. I bought a car with a large enough cargo area to accommodate my wheelchair lift. I don’t really need it now, but I may in a couple of years. Hope you have a wonderful Spring.


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