Remind me not to drink coffee and eat sugar-loaded cake before bed. Now I’m sitting here wide awake, stewing over some of my favorite self-afflictions. You’ve heard this rant before, so please just bear with me, or disregard as usual.
I don’t get human life. Many of us just work and slave for some rich bastard until we drop dead. What’s the point?
A sizable sub-group of us are compelled to lose our incomes, benefits, healthcare, savings, families, friends, homes, and futures, in order to caregive indefinitely for aging parents in their homes, right at the time in life that we needed to stay at work to keep earning enough to see us (and possibly our own kids) through the rest of our lives, perhaps never retiring, at an age where re-employment will be next to impossible. (I’m not bitter! 😉 )
Yet, we’re supposed to do this out of the goodness of our hearts, or because we owe it to our parents, as their old-age life insurance, for as long as it takes, which could drag on for decades. And then there we’ll be, broke with nowhere to go. If we feel resentful, or worse yet, if we dare to resist this fate, we feel guilty of being ungrateful, entitled, selfish, or inadequate. As if we have no right to a life of our own, or what’s left of it, while dying, demented people with no quality of life deserve every last ounce of our time on earth.
I know, I’m not in a position to complain, because I did eventually resist and move on, thanks to circumstances I could never have planned or hoped for. I did my time, I did everyone’s dirty work. But I still sometimes lie awake at night, wondering if I was evil or negligent for not sacrificing my life and health for as long as it took, forfeiting any prospects of a secure future. And I think of all my counterparts who don’t have the luxury or ability to find alternatives.
The whole paradigm seems skewed or wrong. Aging people are kept alive longer, though barely existing, while their kids in their prime of working life, or starting to think about retirement if they can afford it, must suddenly give it all up and risk everything they worked hard for, to accommodate dying people who didn’t plan ahead. Then we’re up next, facing the same dilemma, with no funds left, and no desire to burden our already struggling kids with the same baggage.
I know, life’s not fair, never has been, never will. I don’t expect any answers or solutions, as long as humans are mortal, and corporations have a vested interest in manipulating us for profit. Dying is big business, and only the very rich can afford to just throw money at the problem of extended aging and make it ‘go away’.
The average person is in denial about mortality until they begin to age, and suddenly have to face the conflict between securing their own and their family’s future wellbeing, and sacrificing it all to support their parents and in-laws. In past generations, the old just got sick and died, or families somehow took them in until the medical challenges became too great to handle. Now, many people are not in a position to be able to do that, or their parents insist (understandably, but not always realistically) on aging ‘in place’. Our society is not geared up or prepared for handling an assault of this magnitude. We’re all just barely managing to survive as it is, and it will only get worse.
OK, was that not a cheery change of pace or what?! Once in a while I have to revert to my old bitter, cynical rantings and ravings, just to get it out of my system. It’s better than imploding or grumbling all the time. Then I can get back to the more important matters in life, namely, drinking beer, and working my way through the cuisines of the world, if only in my head. Oh, and sometimes getting to see my kids. Or whatever it is retired people on a small fixed income are supposed to do with the little time that’s left.
I just hope I spend my reprieve wisely and effectively. Please feel free to advise. Most of the time I’m just winging it. For now, I’m just hoping for some nightmare-free sleep. Lots of ghosts, etc. Rant over; carry on.