I recently returned from a wonderful five-day trip visiting family and friends in San Diego. It was a mini-vacation to a city I really do love. I spent time trying to push my dad to get out of bed and hang out with me and my son. But he’s not well, and his body isn’t what it once was.
I stayed with him in the house he’s recently sold. In three weeks he’ll move to a retirement community. We had lunch there so he could show me his new two bedroom apartment.
The community is lovely. There’s a pool and lots of beautiful courtyards. His apartment is spacious and the food in the dining room was tasty. The only issue he has with it, is accepting that everyone who lives there is old.
My dad still works at 80-something (he’d kill me if I wrote his actual age). He’s a smart dresser and drives himself around in a spotless luxury Lexus.
He can’t stop looking at women, and thinks all of them are hot as long as they’re not overweight or “old.”
He’s struggling with aging. His body is not cooperating. He’s tired and sleeps a lot. I suggested maybe he’s depressed.
How do we come to terms with aging? How hard should we fight it? When do we accept and put aside our pride to admit we need help?
I know that I have had the mid-life invisibility moments. When I walk into a store or sit at a bar, and compared to how I’d be greeted in my twenties, now I’m looked over, around and through. I try to look as pretty as I can. “Pulled together,” as my sister says, but I’m terrified to go under-the-knife for a facelift and I certainly won’t stop coloring my hair.
But, my dad is facing something deeper than vanity, he’s facing the final chapter of his life. He knows that the move to this retirement community may be his last, and from a man who moved literally every year, from the time I was eight until… a couple of years ago, that’s a huge pill to swallow.
I know he feels alone and wishes I were there with him. To look out for him and take care of him, and I know that he could use the help, but work being what it is these days, right now it’s difficult.
I love my dad. I wish he could get out more and socialize. Do more, see more, drink it all in, but his body isn’t obliging, and his psyche isn’t very upbeat.
My sister and her daughter and my son and I will all be with my dad for Thanksgiving this year — a first. We’re really looking forward to it. I hope my dad will be feeling better by then. Adjusted to his new living arrangements. Maybe even involved with one of the many ladies in the building — a new and more hopeful future. I hope he’ll be aging gracefully, but not going down without a fight.