Getting old is weird

Mon, 11/07/2022 - 6:15pm

I get together with a group for coffee and most of us are around the same age.  We discuss politics, local, state and national and the weather and news, but we also talk about strange stuff. Things like the price of chicken.  Or potatoes. And how many meals we can get out of a whole cooked chicken.

Here’s what’s weird about that. We spent our entire lives working hard to take care of our families and doing whatever to put food on the table.  We probably shopped around a little.  I know in our earlier married days, we ate a lot of pasta.  It tasted good, filled us up and was cheap.  But we never talked about the cost of it.  It was just something we did.

Now when the group has reached an age where we can afford to eat about anything we want, we’re focused on the price of chicken. Don’t misunderstand.  We’re not rich, but during all the years we should have been closely watching the price of food, we were feeding our families and working at whatever it took to make that happen.  Very strange.

Another thing we talk about a lot is dying.  I know that sounds morbid, be we usually talk about it in the third person.  You know.  Things like: “Did you see that so and so died? He or she was in my class in high school.”  Or, even worse, “He or she was a freshman when I graduated.”

Today, we talked about obituaries. There was some talk about writing our own.  Since I write, that thought has crossed my mind from time to time, but when I really consider it, it seems like writing an ad for my life.  That doesn’t work for me. There is something to be said for not leaving your survivors to deal with a lot of issues, but they are alive and we’re not.  It’s more important to me, even though I’ll never know, for others to comment on my trips around the sun.

Another subject that came up was the common obituary term, “died unexpectedly”. I questioned that because at almost 74, it’s not like I can’t see it coming.  I read where someone at 96 died unexpectedly and think it shouldn’t have been a shock, but the pushback was that if someone was healthy and active at any age and then died, the actual death was unexpected.  Makes sense. There has to be a better term.  “Was surprised to find themselves dead.” That’s probably not going to fly in this Woke culture we’re in. “Here today, gone tomorrow.”  That’s a canned thing that is accurate, but probably not appropriate in an obituary.  We should all give this some thought.

“At his or her request, there will be no services.”

Who do we think we are?  If people want to get together to rag about me or laugh about all the stupid things I did in my life, how arrogant of me to deny them the opportunity. And announce it in my obituary.  Look.  If that’s that you want, it’s fine, but I’m dead and it’s up to you to decide what you want to do.  As a matter of public record, I would prefer that people get together, laugh, dance, reflect on the awesome time I spent on this earth, go home and hug a loved one, call their kids and think about what a blessing this life is.  

Roger said during this latest conversation that no matter what, we’re forgotten after we die.  He’s right. The average person goes away after they die.  If you have a building or public place named after you, that’s different.  For the rest of us, we just go away. There’s nothing you can do about that.  If you have a lot of accomplishments, it might be interesting, but what really matters is who you were.  Did you touch lives in a positive way?  Did you give back? Did you make a difference? 

At my age, I can ask those questions and I guess they will be answered at the party. There are people who don’t care what others think about them. The catering bill we be very small for their party, if they allow one at all.  For the rest of you, every day you make a difference in people’s lives.  That difference can be good or bad. Your choice.

Roger is right.  Once we’re gone, most people are forgotten in a short time.  Life goes on. If you live your life to make a positive difference in others, there may be sometimes where survivors will reflect on something you said or did, crack a smile, and say he or she was OK. That’s about as good as it gets.