My husband and I have been looking at possible places to move to, now that he’s retired. As far as I’m concerned, we could live somewhere in the middle of nowhere and spend all our time gardening and reading and walking outdoors in the silence.
I’m a solitary bird by nature. I like to have my mate with me, but otherwise it’s much easier for me to be alone. Out in the peopled world, I quickly reach sensory overload. Everything starts to hurt. People talking, buses and trucks, dishes clanking in a restaurant, supposed “background” music that becomes very foreground for me. So many lights everywhere—have you ever noticed the number of colored lights? Traffic signals, shop signs, cars’ rear headlights, theater marquees. They’re everywhere! And flashing!
A place beyond all that is the only place where I can rest. Unfortunately, as my husband has pointed out, my physical health is getting increasingly problematic. Myofascial pain syndrome, degenerative disc disease, and fibromyalgia, not to mention my old friends depression and anxiety, are chronic conditions that have been added to the sum of me. It’s who I am now.
I thought I was beginning to accept my new limitations. But when I fell in love with a little house on a huge, wide-open space on the top of a mountain in the middle of the Catskills, my husband yanked me back down to the real world where I need to have ready access to medical facilities, and neighbors to help out if he’s not there.
Realistically, it would be dangerous for me to live in the middle of nowhere now. It frightens my husband to even think about it. It’s really hard for me to give up my lifelong expectation of retiring to a secluded place. It’s what I’ve always wanted. It’s what I’ve always pictured when I thought about this stage in my life. It’s who I’ve always been. I hurts to not be that anymore.
Very truly I tell you, when you were younger you dressed yourself and went where you wanted; but when you are old you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go. (John 21:18 NIV)