When You’re Alone, at What Age Should You Prepare for Getting Older?

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Maybe the North Pole, Alaska, Senior Center Would Be a Fun Place to Hang Out

Maybe the North Pole, Alaska, Senior Center Would Be a Fun Place to Hang Out

As a single woman who’s trekked off to some groovy places around the globe, I sometimes think I’m invincible. Lately, I’ve come to accept no man or woman is an island and I simply can’t rely on myself to muddle through life. Last year when my sweet Mickey went off to the Rainbow Bridge, it began hitting home how alone I am.

To refresh your memory, I had three servicemen coming into my home with a dying cat in my arms and had no one available to help me. I had to figure out how to deal with everything at once.

For most of the month of June I was sick yet life doesn’t stop when you’re sick. Just when I thought I was better, some other ailment crept in. What started as a slight case of sinus issues turned into a sinus infection causing an ear infection turning into plugged ears with hearing loss and now oral thrush (which isn’t as gross as the description – I just have a killer sore throat and tongue pain) from Cipro to fight the initial infections. And oh yeah, I chipped a front tooth somewhere in there, too.

All the while, I’ve kept up with my day job, maintained this blog best I could which meant several overnight and day trips (posts are coming!) while maintaining my home and general life. Did I mention the car needed a new battery and air conditioner compressor? Looking back, in addition to being emotionally draining, June was financially draining.

When it Rains, the Grass Really, Really Grows

In some respect, I wonder how I would have time for someone else in my life, although I don’t think I’ll find him anytime soon. Okay, reality is I would make time. [Oh, Prince Charming, if you’re reading this feel free to knock on my door anytime now. I ask that you knock because the doorbell doesn’t work. I can send you the GPS coordinates if you need them.]

The recent events reminded me I don’t have anyone to rely on, someone to run errands or prepare and feed me homemade chicken noodle soup when I’m sick. (I’d even take it from a can if there was someone to pop the top.) I don’t have anyone to split home maintenance duties with and being summer, I really should be cutting my grass twice a week in order to keep up, but who has time for that?

I also have Shaun T waiting for me to get started with his INSANITY program. Insane, I know. But hey, I’ve had fun and success using Hip Hop Abs for a month and decided to really challenge myself. About 10 years ago I used one of the Beachbody products which helped me drop about 40 pounds (which I’ve gained back 10) so I know they work if you stick with it. Problem is, since my inspiration in a box arrived I haven’t been well enough to unpack it. Hold tight Shaun T, you’ll be unboxed real soon!

Anyway, this isn’t a pitch for INSANITY or Beachbody…

Physically and emotionally, am I in my forever place?

My American Dream - Is it a White Picket Fence or Roll Aboard Suitcase?

My American Dream – Is it a White Picket Fence or Roll Aboard Suitcase?

I Am a Rock but Not an Island

There’s going to be a time when I really need someone to help, just as when friends helped during my appendicitis episode. Last month I had one of those epiphanies that if I die in my sleep, no one will find me for days and by then, my cat would have gnawed me up. (Let’s hope when the time comes, I haven’t turned into the crazy cat lady with a clowder of cats.)

I came to that conclusion because I overslept for work and the office didn’t call or send someone to my home. Granted, I woke up at 8:35 a.m. and I’m supposed to be in the office around 8 a.m.-ish. If I’ll be more than 15 minutes late, I always call or send an email saying so. I immediately called in but got thinking, when would they have noticed I wasn’t there? It’s a full-time staff of five people! [The reason I overslept was because I was having hearing issues and didn’t hear my four alarms – two on the phone plus the two snooze alarms.]

I hate asking people for favors and help, probably because I’ve been let down so many times I’ve stopped asking. Or, there’s the inevitable feeling of owing someone or being guilted to do something or multiple things because of one favor. I don’t want to feel as though I owe someone. At the same time, I’m generous in my time (and sometimes money) in assisting others and I’m finally realizing sometimes I’m too generous.

Someday, the time will come when I won’t be able to travel.

As I grow older, I need to ensure I’m living somewhere with resources to make me feel I have some independence. Is there a public transportation system easily accessible so I can get around in the event I’m unable to drive? Is my home equipped for an aging person?

Several years ago a friend in Texas remodeled her home to make light switches, electrical outlets, counter tops and counter drawers accessible for someone in a wheelchair. It wasn’t because she was in a wheelchair, she was already planning for aging in place in case she was bound to a wheelchair. Today, she’s in her early 70s and can still out walk me on the hiking trail.

I also wonder who will take care of me if I can’t take care of myself. This will sound crass but going to sleep and not waking up or passing away when doing what you love may be the way to go but life doesn’t go as planned. When the time comes I really thought you could will yourself to die but Grandma B showed me that’s not the case.

I’m 43-years-old, should I be thinking of these things?

Making a Plan to Eat that Elephant Bite by Bite

I already live in one of the country’s popular retirement areas but will that be enough when I’m ready to retire? I need to make a plan and the short term one is to set boundaries with myself and others. I need to remember to put myself first and get caught up on what needs to be done without taking on new responsibilities. I need to concentrate on my health, both physically and mentally. As the saying goes, life is too short.

Specifically in the next couple of months I plan to:

  • Log off the computer by 10 p.m. each night. (Disregard this post’s time stamp.)
  • Not answer phone calls after 8 p.m.
  • Not respond to text messages after 10 p.m.
  • Work on reducing my debt. It’s been slow going because as Dave Ramsey advises, Murphy comes a knockin’ after a major purchase. Just as I’m about to top off Baby Step 1, I get knocked back down but it’s a nice feeling being able to pay cash vs. that sinking feeling of charging a big expense.
  • Finish my blogging obligations before taking on new ones. Be prepared to read about some awesome places and opportunities and look for a few giveaways.
  • Enjoy and experience life in real time, not behind a lens or smartphone.
  • Learn to incorporate the word “NO” into my everyday vocabulary without feeling guilty about it.

Of course there are exceptions but they will be on my terms. If I can get a grasp on the above, maybe I’ll have some clarity about my current and future situations.

Tell me if you’re preparing for your golden years.

Also, I truly appreciate support from my readers, your encouragement keeps me going!

Author: Solo Travel Girl

Originally from Buffalo, N.Y., a hiking trail led Jennifer Huber, aka: Solo Travel Girl, to a career path in tourism. She has worked in the tourism industry for more than 20 years including 10 years with a park management company in Yellowstone, Death Valley and Everglades National Park. She currently lives in Southwest Florida, and maintains this travel blog with the goal of inspiring others to travel alone, not lonely.

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1 Comment

  1. I thought your Mom and Dad took care of you?
    I heard they’re great people!

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