Conscious Aging: How I Feel about Living Alone

A friend who lives here in Seattle recently asked me how I feel about living alone. She is married; she and her husband are a few years younger than I am and both  still professionally active. They have a home in the woods in a small east coast state; he spends more time there than she does, writing books.

I answered honestly that on a day-to-day basis, living alone is fine. I’m a serious introvert, quite comfortable with my own company and with individual pursuits such as reading and writing my blog posts and working out. I have enough friends and social contacts to suit me, especially with both of my adult kids living here.

In a larger, age-related sense, I have concerns — which I will address with the help of my family if and when they become critical. I think of two couples particularly, with whose stories I am involved as a friend, one here and one in Rochester. In one case, a husband is gradually sinking into the fog of Alzheimer’s disease. He is able to remain at home only because his wife is there to care for and protect him and structure his days. In the other case, the husband is receiving chemo for a recurrence of cancer. His health is gradually declining as the cancer cells do their nefarious work, and after each chemo treatment he is apt to suffer a good bit. Again, he can remain at home because his wife is there to care for him.

I couldn’t manage either of these conditions by myself, living alone.

Happily, gratefully, I’m in good health. I see no need to do anything proactively about these age-related concerns, because none of them as yet affects my life or my ability to function.

I’m  not naive about aging. Sooner or later, my ability to dodge the bullets of ill health or cognitive decline will fail.

But not today, or tomorrow, and hopefully not any time soon.

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