Thursday, June 26, 2014

My Bucket and Me

Yes, it's there. It's been demanding my attention for some time, now, but it's become downright officious lately. In its silver-tongued palaver, it assures me the carriage is just for ourselves.

Buying the farm has always been something of an abstraction. But that was before Zynga.

I blame the precipitate cause of this cerebration on moving to Colorado. If I hadn't moved to Colorado, I wouldn't have quite working as a real estate broker. Our search for a home included both traditional and short sales, and after a dozen encounters with brokers, all of whom claimed to be experts, none of whom actually were (except the Redfin guy), I voted myself off their island.

Still, brokering had been something to do. Besides, I liked all my clients. I may not have liked the trade very much, but at least it consumed the hours and distracted me from ruminating on all things eschatological, which I'm wont to do. At its best, work doesn't seem like work. I've heard that people who love what they do actually exist. At its worst, work distracts you from thinking about wanting what you can't have.

And then, this:

It's a tiny, silver cup, a gift for my daughter when she was born forty-one years ago. Think that's cool? Well, let me tell you, it's bad enough to watch your favorite musicians creaking around the stage croaking golden oldie fundraisers for public television, but to have your personal treasures become candidates for Antiques Roadshow is sobering. And kind of depressing, actually.

With time on my hands, I decided to get fit about a year ago and began spending an hour or more at the gym every day. I'm pretty healthy, but nonetheless decided to have a better diet as well, not counting whiskey, with the hope of either turning back the clock or at least living a few years longer. My weight actually increased a bit, which it does when your metabolism increases, but my body fat went down and all that. Gleefully, if not smugly, I rushed off to have my first physical exam in seven years to see how much longer I'd be around. The result? My cholesterol had gone up 20 points.

Hello? Whaddup, here? Would someone please tell me the point? I don't think it's the Rocky Mountain altitude. My warranty was definitely up.

A trip to the audiologist followed this close encounter of the blurred kind. She was kind of cute, so I sucked in my gut and threw back my shoulders and said amusing things to her. It did no good whatsoever, as she found a mass on a hearing nerve whose existence I'd been blissfully unaware of, and sent me for an MRI. And I still had to make the co-pay.

The point of all this being that it doesn't matter which road in the yellow wood you took. They all end up at the bucket, the paid assurances from priests, Kaiser Health, and Deepak Chopra notwithstanding. This revelation came as a complete surprise, of course, because those of us who came of age in the Sixties and Seventies have always believed someone would invent a cure for old age and dying. Even now, I confess to holding out the smallest of hopes that some bright-eyed chirp will come up with an app for it.

I did quit going to the gym, though.

By now, some are already thinking of "list" in connection with "bucket," and you can bet your sweet ass that these scolds are plenty south of Medicare eligibility. Okay, I will confess to harboring a serious thought of buying a house in Italy and living there half the year. But beyond that, what? Should I pick up my guitar again? I'd be like this guy for sure: 

The Bucket List Brigade tends to think of old age as pretty much of a midlife crisis, where you find yourself working a job you hate, despairing over a journey not taken through karavanserais on the old Silk Road, not owning the Ferrari you'd always dreamed about, and becoming annoyed with the hand Fate dealt. Life has passed by some of their dreams, but there's still a little time.

The difference is that I've about run out of time. When you're forty-five, you think about 20 years hence and visualize yourself applying for Social Security, moving to Provence, maybe working part time and doing some volunteering--whatever. You still have options. At 66, if I visualize 20 years hence, I pretty much don't visualize anything. Have you ever tried visualizing nothing? 

My bucket list is in the recycle bin.

Old age is the minority group most everyone will eventually join, the news being less than optimum for those who do not. We all have a date with destiny. We just don't know if it happened already. My own view is that we have more than one, but I won't know for sure until my last one is in the rearview mirror. 

I'll let everyone know.

Update: After reading a couple of comments, I realize I may have left the impression that a medical catastrophe was about to do me in. That may well be the case, but if so, I don't know about it and nothing has come up. I should have had better sense than to initiate the tumor, uh, rumor, of my demise, but good sense and competent editing has always been something that eluded me.