Dear Maggie, I am the age you are worried about. I turned 80 this summer and while I have a daughter and son-in-law, there’s no guarantee they will take care of me. I may be struck down by a stroke or other horrible disease and be under the care of a nursing home. Or the good genes in my family may deliver that blessed last good night where I will drift on to the next adventure in my sleep. We have no idea how we will age and it is the ultimate waste of time to worry about it. You’re talking about a almost a half a century if you’re in your thirties now.
People die young, you know. You could be hit by a car tomorrow. And look at the useless agonizing you will have done fretting over something that never will have occurred.
Plan for the future as much as you can. Which, in fact, is very little. Live a healthy lifestyle and put some money away so you can choose to live in a comfortable community as you age, alone or with others.
And then forget about it. Enjoy the day at hand. They go by so swiftly and when you are my age, should you be so lucky, you will wish you had all those moments back, the ones you wasted on worrying. You’ll see that worrying about the future never changed anything, it only puts blinders on to the miracle of the life you have today.
I’m not a cockeyed optimist. I’ve had many dark days and I’ve struggled in my life, believe me. But I’ve come to realize that we don’t know how we will change over the years, what new turns our lives will take. You may have young friends, marry a man with children who will cherish you. Win the lottery-people do. I’ve met some. Have neighbors who will love you as a beloved aunt. You just don’t know. So why trouble yourself about it now? If you’re happy with your life now, that’s a good sign. Chances are you’ll be happy with your life at any age. What more can anyone ask for?