Andrea and I live in a retirement community. Since we were both healthy and active, I think we surprised some people that we wanted to move here. And perhaps we surprised ourselves a little too. But on the whole it was a good move, and coming to this particular one was a really good choice.
We are still healthy and active, but these months of isolation are aging us. I feel a lot older than I did just four months ago. Much of that, I think, has been the worry about the virus, but it is becoming clear to me that part of it is the isolation. When we first came to this community, we attended a talk by the wellness director. She talked about how wellness includes three things that are perhaps equally necessary: nutrition, exercise, and social contact.
I think of myself as an introvert. I need quiet time alone to charge my batteries, and even the idea of a wild, raucous party unnerves me. But I am discovering that I also need to be with others. Fortunately Andrea and I have each other — this would be a lot harder alone. Still, I miss and need to be with others. As things open up a little, perhaps those needs will be met, although face masks and distancing are barriers to really being together.
It isn’t just the isolation that is aging us, though. There is a lot of background turmoil, too. For one thing, there is the pandemic. This country is quickly approaching two million cases. There are more cases in this country than the next five hardest-hit countries combined. That’s Brazil, Russia, Spain, the UK, and India. I know we Americans like to be first, but this is ridiculous. Since it’s gotten so badly out of hand, the administration has declared victory and handed it all to the states.
Meanwhile, there is the social unrest. The Guardian published an article about the irony (my word, not theirs) of baton-wielding police firing rubber bullets and pepper spray to quell groups protesting police brutality. Portland has huge protests, but there have been marches and demonstrations all over the state, including in a number of small, rural communities where I wouldn’t expect them. Yesterday driving through a nearby neighborhood we saw a group at a small intersection. They looked like they could be three families, the adults in their 30s and the children small to mid-sized. They were, for want of a better description, white. They were holding Black Lives Matter signs and getting a lot of support from the passing motorists.
And while all this is going on, the administration continues its destruction. We don’t need clean air or water — it costs too much. We don’t need to save pristine lands or seabeds for the future — we need to monetize them now. We don’t need healthcare for the poor, despite the pandemic — who cares about them? And on and on.
When I went into the Army, we were told we were required to obey the legal orders of our superiors. They really stressed that we were obligated to obey only the legal orders. Our allegiance was to the country and its constitution. We didn’t swear obeisance to a man. In the past week it has been heartening to hear the professionally nonpolitical generals speaking out. And it has been saddening that we have come to the point where they feel they must.
Liberty Counsel — “a 501 tax-exempt organization that promotes litigation related to evangelical Christian values” — reportedly tried to remove the LGBTQ protections from the Senate’s anti-lynching bill. According to them, I guess, it would be within Christian values to lynch me. It all makes me so tired. It makes me feel old.
This is Pride month. I remember the days of Black Pride. It was squelched, put back in its place. Gay Pride made better progress, even if Liberty Counsel would litigate against our right to life. Will we be able to bring Black Pride forward at last, recognizing people with dark skin as fully human at last? It’s too soon to tell.
Things are opening up in this area. Andrea and I both got haircuts this week — my first in 16 weeks. We also went to the doctor for our annual wellness checkups. We are feeling older, but he gave us hope that, barring unforeseen circumstances, we should be good for a few more trips around the sun.
We had some really pleasant days, but now the rains have started again. It’s been in the 50s all day (around 12º C). I hope the sun will come out for you. For all of us.
3 thoughts on “Aging”
The group you saw may well have been from the UU church in Oregon City. They were planning to gather at Oak Grove and McLaughlin late afternoon.
The group I saw were at Johnson Creek and 32nd, neither of which is a main thoroughfare.
You are an inspiring writer. Thank you for this post, I needed it.