Creating New Pathways for Aging in Place
All my life I’ve imagined what I wanted and made choices to make those dreams come true. Why not now in these precious, extended years we’ve been given? As a result of a great deal of research and soul-searching about the best way for us to remain safe, well and engaged throughout whatever time is left, my husband, Michael, and I have already begun to make preparations to age in community. The alternative would be to leave all preparation until a sudden crisis puts pressure on us or our children to act in haste.
Because the bulk of housing – even new construction – isn’t designed for a safe and flexible lifestyle for people of all ages, we’re creating something new. As founding members of Screen Door Cohousing our vision was living in a single building with neighbors bound together by respect, compassion, and joy. Unfortunately that dream was stymied by the cost of land and construction in the Asheville area.
With the possibility of an elder condo-cooperative squashed for the moment, I’m not done yet. My back up plan was to reinforce social connections and elder living supports in our present community, High Vista in Mills River, NC. I guess I struck a nerve because with a minimum of monthly administrative work on my part we have an active neighbor-to-neighbor group. Over thirty people aged 50+ are on our roster, providing meals, advice, transportation, home chore help, etc. on request. Next step on my vision board is to create partnerships with outside service providers for those times when needs extend beyond our capacities. Want to know how to create a neighborhood network in your community? Please contact me for a consultation.
Philosophy: What is the Purpose of Life?
I like Rabbi Amy Scheinerman’s response to this question, because I find her teaching understandable and in sync with the way I’ve lived my own life; that’s very validating. There’s nothing in this essay that requires one to be working nine to five, raising children, having a leadership position, measuring output against any standard except their personal values. In other words, there’s nothing that precludes an aged or disabled person from leading a purposeful life. Read The Purpose of Life and decide how purpose is motivating your life today.
Poetry: Walking Haiku
“Haiku” is a traditional form of Japanese poetry. Haiku poems consist of 3 lines. The first and last lines of a Haiku have 5 syllables and the middle line has 7 syllables. The lines rarely rhyme.
Several years ago I took a workshop on the use of haiku as a walking meditation practice from an artist/poet Jenna Weston. I don’t practice regularly, but when immersed in nature this art/meditation form almost always calls to me. I am grounded and elated by the process of sensing a moment in nature and selecting a few targeted, rhythmic words to express the interior and exterior connections made in that instant.
Poster: What’s Better Than Being Retired?