What's wrong with a lot of advice for old people is that it promotes living with the same goals and interests as midlife people.
A week or two ago, Crabby Old Lady read (or heard somewhere) about a woman's aged grandmother lamenting that everyone always wants her to go somewhere and do something when her choice is to stay at home.
Crabby knows how the grandmother feels.
Part of the reason – and nobody told Crabby this would happen when she was young or even middle-aged – is that it takes so damned long these days to get ready to go anywhere. Actually, everything takes longer now and it's exhausting.
You don't even see it coming. Whether it is the due to disease, debility or simple old age, you don't realize how slow you've become until you've been slow for awhile. At least, that's what happened to Crabby.
Crabby has always had an excellent sense of time, an ability to know how long a given task will take or how much time has passed since an earlier marker. It has been so much a part of her life that she never thought it as a “thing.”
Never, that is, until one day a year ago or so when she glanced at the clock as she started washing up the lunch dishes – a plate, a cup, a knife and fork, a cooking pan – and then saw when she finished that 15 minutes had passed.
That was a three-minute task at most. So where did 12 minutes go?
It happens all the time now and it feels like someone is surreptitiously speeding up the clock when Crabby isn't looking, snatching away minutes and hours that rightly belong to Crabby.
Time speeds by so quickly that most days Crabby needs to move several items on her to-do list to the next day. And the next. And the next...
It also means Crabby would rather stay home although not for those neglected to-do items.
Crabby well remembers the many years she was out of the house from early morning until late night without any consequence – it was just a normal day.
But now she would rather be home. Not every day. Not all the time. But more than younger adults would probably find tolerable.
As is frequently mentioned in these pages, people age at different rates. Crabby is 78, diagnosed with cancer and COPD. Her energy level is about half what it once was.
Some other people her age and older might be working full time or volunteering or have places to go, things to do every day. The afflictions of old age don't catch up with all elders at the same age or to the same degree.
But they are more common in late life than not, so most old people will find themselves making age-related adjustments, large and small, than they ever planned for.
When Crabby was younger, getting out of the house and off to some new experience seemed urgent and important. But now she finds there are plenty of compelling things to do at home: read books, write a blog, talk to friends on the phone or Skype, watch a movie. Or just sit and think.
All good reasons Crabby Old Lady would rather stay home most of the time.