other thoughts

On the aging thing

[Today’s run: 3.2 miles]

I’m getting to a life transition (as I mentioned yesterday), and I’m sort of trying to figure out what kinds of challenges are going to come up and where I need to get my act together.

Since there is a pretty solid strain of dementia in my family, I think there is a good possibility I could be heading down that path myself. I work with a lot of young smart people and, although I am still contributing in important ways, I think my mental flexibility is not what it once was. Or it could be completely my imagination. I do tend to search for words sometimes. When I have a conference call where I know I’m going to need to speak, I try to write down some of the key words and names so I don’t get stuck. A short list is usually enough.

I have not yet started to leave myself notes on how to change the furnace filter. But I have simplified my password life (endless passwords) and I’ll just leave that one alone.

To me the big challenge with dementia is how to end up with a sweet disposition, not afraid and angry. Since I’m in the south we will call that second the unsweet path. I’ve had both paths show up in my forebears. So I’m going to try to wear down those mental cow paths a little harder on the sweet and less on the unsweet.

In light of my post yesterday, which was more metaphysical and religious in nature, I think it would be wise not to start on any wholesale remodeling at this point (if I have any choice in the matter). From here on in I may be foregoing any chance at 10,000 virgins in the afterlife. And I’m at peace with that. I think that kind of thing is more for the young shoot-em-up types anyway.

And I will try to hold lightly to my children and grandchildren and not get twisted up if they don’t take my advice or meet my expectations. I’m pretty much there already. That all gets handled when I pray about them. I see “overbearing” as related to the unsweet path.

So I need to do better with the disciplines of scripture and prayer. I do most of my serious work when out running, since I am usually by myself for 45 minutes or an hour, and nobody is there to care if I am talking to myself.

Yeah, so I’m going to try to avoid unnecessary aggravation or getting into Twitter arguments, all of that. If I lose sleep over what I see on TV or read on the internet I probably shouldn’t be watching or reading that particular thing. It may make for some very boring blog posts! But that kind of thing also is on the road to unsweet.

Otherwise on the health front I’m in pretty good shape. I hope to continue with my run/jog/walk/whatever three days a week. It would be good to lose some pounds. In Mississippi I can feel good by comparison, but that’s not really a sufficient goal. (I saw a guy yesterday at Wal-Mart that looked like he had a swimming floaty ring on under his shirt.)

Eventually I will need to start sharing our financial arrangements more, computer passwords and that kind of thing. We need to get wills updated and just leave less of a mess. (I think we are going to go talk to our CPA about what we should be doing in this area.)

Stuff! Stuff is a thing. I’m not at the point of divestiture. But I will publicly state that nothing I own is really valuable. Which has the upside that you could bulldoze it all into a pile and set it afire, but the downside that there isn’t a hoard of gold coins buried under the floorboards. (sorry kids)

I hope to work a few more years, and possibly get the house paid off. That should put us in a pretty good place for retirement. The real loose end is health insurance options and I am starting to look at that.

I don’t really have any post-retirement activities laid out. We enjoy travel, so maybe we can do more of that. It will help if gas stays relatively cheap. I will be keeping my eye out for interesting activities. My wife tells me I am not able to run for office. Like W T Sherman said: if nominated I will not run and if elected I will not serve. I am sometimes an usher at church. That is as far as I go.

So that’s my plan, such as it is. It may all evaporate tomorrow. But I look down the road and I see a specific situation that I _don’t_ want to be in and as much as it is within my power, I want to actively avoid. If I don’t recognize you in 20 years, I hope I am still friendly and enjoyable (which may mean I have to be friendly and enjoyable with literally everyone I meet!)