Of course for this blog to make any real sense, you would have had to know me before I moved off the grid. Consider that missed experience a blessing…..
It is obvious that I am now 15+ years older…… but, in that vein, I am stronger for my age than many……much healthier than I would have been had I remained on the martini circuit and watched TV. I am still stiffening up like the elderly do, but I think this lifestyle keeps me more flexible than I might have been – hard to say when you are only as supple as a firehydrant. Mind you, I still move Shrek-like across irregular surfaces and I still do awkward jobs – albeit poorly. I confess that Sally’s regular yoga is something I count on now…..for doing some of the chores I used to do.
Attitudinally, I am slightly easier-going. Still grouchy and impatient but now I avoid most human interactions and forgive more of the infractions of those I encounter. So, technically, I am easier-going on an incidence-counted basis. Being late, for instance, is not such a big deal to me anymore (for THEM. For me, I am still just as obsessive about being on-time). I am even somewhat pleasant to BC ferry workers who previously held very low status but, because of the ‘humanity’ of our local crew, are now much better tolerated. I am just a smidge better, actually. It is still tolerance, after all. LOCAL tolerance. And that’s still a precarious relationship, too.
Philosophically, I am both happier and more depressed. I see clearly that ‘central’, rich nincompoops affect my life through a systemic commitment to greed and power and a panapoly of stupid and primitive belief systems. On the other hand, that has always been so and at least I am further away.
Sal and I agree: we are NOT FAR ENOUGH!!
Spiritually, I am good. Basically at peace with myself…..well, relatively speaking, anyway. I still get antsy. Wanna do stuff. Different stuff. Always wanna do different stuff. I used to want to travel ’cause of the different stuff. Now? Not so much. Maybe it’s just age….. I am not so inclined to ‘travel’ these days. Plus a lot of the different stuff is NOT SO different anymore. McDonald’s in China? Part of it, too, is that I just like ‘here’ so much that I am happy ‘staying’.
Probably my biggest personal change is spending more time in the present. This is now much more a life spent not ‘in my head’. Of course, there is thinking and planning and all sorts of ruminations but, for the most part, one can step out into nature and do some physical thing and enjoy and benefit from the ‘present moment’ of it all. The best part? The ‘present moment’ can last a few hours.
I built a frame for a cement casting the other day. Screwed it up all along the way, changed it, fixed it, did it again. Finally got it close-enough to be ‘right’. Simple, basic, rustic, poorly executed carpentry project. Took me three hours! But the time flew. It just went by so nicely. Weather was good. Sal was in the garden. Boats went by. Ravens sitting nearby commenting occasionally on my work. Next thing you know……..it’s late afternoon…….I heard a bottle of wine calling my name….
“Oh, Dave, you are just getting old!”
I think you are right about that but, it is clear to me that my ‘getting old’ out here is a lot different from the path to getting old in the city. To put a pathetically sad story to that: a friend of a friend is moving back east to move into an old-folks extended care facility. She is a bit older than me at 72/73. She is ambulatory. I guess she has a few ailments….but the main reason she is moving there is because she is lonely and has nothing to do in the city. She is just existing, not living. In her 70’s, she is done…….
And that is just not me. NOT Sal either. I doubt that it will ever be me or Sal. Maybe if we reach 100. Even then – NOT Sal!
In the meantime, we have too much to do.
Mom lived til 96, that would be 24 years in assisted living… shoot me! With any luck I’ll pass quickly after lugging another frigging propane tank off the boat at 90something….
Local guy up here passed a few years ago. He was 94 and still chopping wood. Got a pain in his shoulder and went into town to get it checked. Died that day in the hospital. A couple of others checked out just as quickly doing other things similar. One guy, just walking up the hill. I would prefer expiring in bed and not knowing the difference between a long dream and my new state of being…..although the extreme heat might give me a hint.
Agreed!!! Hope i go up not down. Hate the heat at the best of times 😇
My father put himself into an assisted care facility in his mid seventies. It seemed like a good idea at the time but it did complicate his life in many unanticipated ways. He was an avid gardener but a few planter boxes on a patio are not a greenhouse in a large garden. My dad is now 96 years of age, fit and competent. Has the supported living facility extended his life, possibly, but at 96 years of age will it have been by months, or perhaps years. Uncertain. The other factor for him is no choice in his day to day companions some of whom are a constant source of challenges. Only a few are unfiltered in speech and imperious in attitude but it dampens the mood. He has a lock on his door so he has the security of his person and of his possessions. It allows him a degree of independence but also a measure of disquiet. Giving up one’s sources of comfort such as the little choices of day to day living Is deflating.
I hope you had an absolutely fantastic long weekend. Mine was! The forecast rain held off, and only transpired in the middle of the night.
As for ‘assisted living’, I’m in favour of ‘assisted dying’. I have a couple of bottles of cheap Scotch (I don’t drink) and when it comes time I expect to wander off with the two bottles. And if its winter, so much the better. I understand that hypothermia is quite pleasant.
Gooooooood thinking, JA. Glad to see you have a plan.
Please JA not cheap Scotch. your last day should include the ambrosia of the Gods, a real good Scotch, ( you may get in up there if you have good
Scotch ). David may advise you to a suitable one.
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Laphroaig 18 if you are definitely heading out in the ice cold blackness but Bowmore 18 if taste still matters. It would for me. Bowmore is the best. Yeah, yeah…Glenmorangie in a pinch. Hell, anything in a pinch…but Laphroaig is the exit choice of most, Bowmore is the choice of the discerning.
Edradour would be an interesting choice but only for it’s
singular rarity. It’s not that good but there is very little of it and you’d be making a statement. A pompous one. But a statement, nevertheless.
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But why waste good Scotch on one that doesn’t appreciate it. I used to go for quantity over quality and seem never to have developed a cultured taste.
I’ll leave the good stuff for David as he has another half decade or so over me to enjoy it.
Your plan just keeps getting better
Red wine is supposed to be good for the heart.
I need to move to the country. I don’t plan on being resuscitated. It will take the ambos longer to get there. Speaking of heat, the only thing that puts me off a little country hovel is the bushfire risk. That’s not my preferred way to go.
Here’s the logic: a little country hovel, simple, small….does the job. You live outdoors most of the time anyway. Flowers, birds, garden….You love it.
….KA —– BBBBOOOOOOOOOMMMMMMM……
……………..a forest fire happens……it all burns……but (thankfully) you ran away…….and maybe you have to cry a little, perhaps………….but then you remember….”It was a simple hovel. Just stuff. Just stuff. I’ll get Dave’s second book (CHOOSING) and, for very little effort, build another little hovel and LOVE IT!!!
WAH- bloody- HHHOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!
I like your thinking.
Just because I can, may I say that very,very,very rarely if ever has any Canadian been eaten by a bushfire. Red wine must be good for the heart as I drink my fair share of it and mine is just fine. Country like ours (away from towns, cities, or just excess people) is simply all the worlds definitions of peace, contentment and even happiness rolled into one. Just saying! 🙂
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Not sure what the future holds, but I guess none of us does. We live with one foot in the city and one off the grid (even though this is most of our time). We are different people in the city, less active and more tied to TV and the Internet. At the cabin there is always something that needs doing, Today it was canning my garden produce. I try to do something each day that is an outdoor activity. Gardening takes care of that a lot in the spring/summer. Well, we didn’t have to call upon you to help out with citizenship. Went like a breeze. Five minute interviews and a nice ceremony two days later. Some friends went with us which was nice, Had to take the ferry across to go to Parksville but in my estimation that was much better than Vancouver or Victoria. Now all we have to do is get passports, another hurdle. – Margy
Congrats on the new membership….being Canadian gets you a pass in most other cultures that Americans don’t get. Which is too bad. We (the hoi polloi) are all the same, really. NOW ‘get on board’ the real-people train and just help one another get by…..THAT is where it is at. This ‘nationalistic’ flag waving is basically tribal, primitive and stupid. Yes, even the Canuck one……