The sun was shining; the sky was blue and cloudless; despite the cold I decided to walk to East Liberty and pick up my prescriptions at Walgreens. There's a Borders in the same complex as the drugstore and I stopped in to warm up. While I was browsing in the magazine section, in fact looking at a jewelry mag, a woman questioned me, "What kind of jewelry do you make?" One of the great things about Pittsburgh is that people talk to you. We had a long, very pleasant conversation during which she mentioned she had been a librarian. I told her I thought that was something I might have enjoyed doing. She said, why don't you do it? Go back to school. I said no, I didn't want to work again. We left it at that, but I've been thinking about it all day. I think this was the first time I've acknowledged to myself that I am too old to do something.
This evening I finally went through the pile of papers I brought back from my trip. It made me very sad. I will probably never return to Japan, although I would very much like to. I have finally, at almost 75 years, concluded I would not do another trip like that alone and as inexpensively as I have done these last two. Having money makes things much easier, and I no longer have confidence that my money will outlast me. I may have to go back to work, yet.
The lady in Borders had the same undaunted attitude I had a year ago. This has been a hard year for me, sometimes wonderful, occasionally frightful; it has very much altered my vision of myself and my attitude. I hope I can recover my sense of invincibility, or maybe it's just a fantasy I've had for 74 years.
Wish I had some sage advice about traveling alone or living well an indefinite time. But I understand completely.
Thank you, dear Karen. I certainly agree with you about some of this, but knowing I will probably never see the gardens I didn’t get to does not bring me pleasure. It has a terribly limiting feeling to it.
And Mage, the problem is that traveling inexpensively has become too difficult. I’ll continue going to New York and Chicago. Both places are home to me. But right now I can’t envision going further afield.
It may not be age. I feel the same way – someone recently suggested I change the kind of writing I do, and my mind immediately shut down. Maybe we’re just getting better at deciding more quickly what we want/don’t want in our lives. I think there’s a lot of pressure to always be open-minded and flexible. And often that is a good thing. But maybe it’s good to be other way sometimes – reject quickly that which doesn’t bring us pleasure.
It’s not a fantasy. We were doing pretty good until our retirement money vanished. I take 700 a month from my investments…..money that wouldn’t have mattered two years ago. I live as small as I can, and I am very grateful that G is still working. You can still travel….please don’t give that up, just very inexpensively.