I am in the Midwest to visit my aunt who turns 92 on July 3 and to check in on my parents. Perhaps it’s because I have introverted tendencies I’m finding it very very difficult to keep up with my writing.
In ordinary times, that is at home, I can usually schedule or squeeze out some time either in the morning or at the bare minimum, at night before turning in. But this trip, actually most trips to see my family, somehow suck the words right out of me.
I hit the evening tide, more exhausted than usual. There’s no room in me for writing.
Perhaps it is the introverted soul in a houseful of extraverts that does me in. My parents are both extraverts, and my sisters. There’s not usually time in my visiting day when I get to have a good chunk of peace, quiet and alone time. This is a marked difference from my homelife where David and I can sit for hours reading or what have you without as much as a word or two passing between us.
Besides being thrown out of my usual routine, this level of togetherness, doing everything together, works against my innate self. And that’s probably contributes to tiring me out.
But there are some interesting lessons from this trip that I hope to write about in days to come. One observation I have from being around four people in their 80’s and 90’s is what a difference it makes to have cultivated a number of interests. My aunt in her nineties, although slowing down, loves to read, travel and enjoys new foods and experiences. One of my other aunts who is in her mid-80s seems to have very limited interests. I am not actually sure what she does in her day besides clean and cook meals, although to be fair she has mobility and sight issues which obviously affect her. My 90 year old aunt lives alone and still drives, lives near her son and regularly skypes with her grandchildren and great-grandchildren. The other, although technically living with family (her son-in-law) seems to have a lonelier existence – she doesn’t drive, her daughter and husband are deceased and she has a tenuous relationship with her only grandson. She lives in a rural area, I don’t believe really has any local friends.
I imagine that the backstory of these women’s lives has a lot to do with where they are at today.
Watching my two aunts negotiate their older years is both inspiring and depressing. I know which way I would chose and hope I’ve set myself up for the active, engaged path of aging.