Anonymous, Age 72
There has always been something about older people that drew me to them. Perhaps it was their perspective, their stories of a simpler time. I love storytelling so I was an instant student.
I studied gerontology in college, got certified in the field and worked in elder care for a while attending graduate school at night. While I loved working in that field, the corporate side was not for me. I segued into a variety of things including a private geriatric care manager, managed a political campaign, working for a watershed and substitute teaching among others.
Fulfilling a lifetime dream after my divorce in 1999, I moved to the Great Smoky Mountains of western North Carolina. I lived on the side of a mountain in the woods for seventeen years. It was one of the best experiences of my life. Living among nature, seeing red wolf, bobcat, coyote and fox in my yard was breathtaking. Hiking, taking flying lessons, exploring watercolors again was invigorating. Living in a small town where “everybody knows your name” fit me to a tee.
Just before I turned seventy, I knew it was time to move closer to family. My daughter was living in Maine so I sold my beloved mountain home and came here. It was a huge adjustment moving to a city, although I was fortunate to find a home surrounded by woods at its outskirts. There are deer, turkeys, coyotes, fox in my yard often. I am grateful.
I had just been in Maine a year when Covid-19 began. It has not been easy to meet people here, to find my group, although my years living solo in the mountains has been invaluable training for these isolating times.
Just over a month ago my daughter, her four year old and the seventy-five pound dog moved in with me. She is going through a divorce. My home here is small by choice. Grateful to be able to welcome my family, this has been a huge adjustment for me. It isn’t just the daily volume of dog hair from the sweetest canine, or the melt downs children go through so often today as much as it is loss of privacy and the quiet to which I became accustomed after my own divorce. In fact, I loved living with self. I never felt alone. Maybe it was the Reiki training, the certification in mindfulness meditation and the years I taught it. It was that act of moving from a fast paced life to one of simplicity, quietude, inner resolve that forever changed me.
I struggle to find the simplicity now, the inner peace. While I know peace is always within oneself, the distractions are huge. In time, I will work this through. At the same time, they will be looking for their own home and I will miss them terribly. It is a paradox and I am glad to find humor in it.