Sue Rasmussen: Thoughts about aging

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My husband and I have been in Casa Grande, Arizona working at the Sundance 1 RV Resort since October 1st. It’s an interesting place, very busy with lots of activities going on from morning to evening. And of course you can’t complain about the winter weather. We have had a few cold (relatively speaking) days, but for the most part it has been great.

Although Sundance is called an RV Resort, I will let you in on a little secret. Lean in close so I can whisper:it isn’t really an RV Resort … it’s a retirement community that just so happens to have some RV spaces to rent. My parents used to live in Sun City, Arizona, which is a community basically in the suburbs just west of Phoenix and a little over an hour from here. Most of the houses, at least in the original section, are almost identical. They are all fairly small stucco homes with low-maintenance gravel yards, many with citrus trees and cacti as decorations. There are centralized activity centers with heated pools, hot tubs, billiard rooms, dance halls, etc. That is precisely what we have here only on a smaller scale. There are probably 1200-1400 residents here, most of who travel to a cooler climate for the summer and return to their cookie-cutter park model homes in the winter.

As you can imagine, Wayne and I are the youngest people here, with the average age probably seventy or so. Almost all of them are very nice and friendly, and although we don’t really fit in their lifestyle, they have been very open and accepting. However, being here has brought some less-than-happy feelings my way. It reminds me too much of my parents, both of whom I miss terribly. The vast majority of these folks could be my parents for heaven’s sake. I was talking to one of my favorite ladies just this morning and she made the comment that I am only two years older than her daughter. There you have it.

I have also found that I am having an increasing number of thoughts lumbering about in my head that this stage of life is not all that far away. That’s depressing … well, perhaps that word is too strong but I must admit I am not looking forward to the time when my children have to “parent” me. I have only recently come through that stage myself, as my mother passed away 3 1/2 years ago. I have a couple of cousins who are in that stage right now, and let me tell you, if you haven’t experienced it yet, I guarantee you will find it difficult. Although on the one hand I regret losing my father as soon as I did, I am in truth very relieved I did not have to go through that with him. It was hard enough with my mother and I think it would have devastated me to watch him slip into dementia or whatever. Nobody wants to have to be the one to tell a beloved parent to hand over their car keys and thus give up their independence. I was fortunate in that my mother had no intention of driving in California when we moved her out from Sun City so I never had to face that argument. There were other arguments though. Sometimes I had to laugh when she would stick her tongue out at me, but underneath that laugh I was grieving. I don’t want to put my children through the very same thing but aside from the unattractive alternative, I don’t know how to avoid it. Just the thought makes me sad and I don’t like being sad.

Honestly, I can’t wait to leave this place mid-April, nice though it may be. It’s not good for my psyche. I need to get back to a regular campground with a wide range of ages and lots of noisy children. That’s what we like and that’s why we embarked on this crazy full-time RVing, workamping lifestyle. Perhaps then I can get back to my happy self. Carlsbad KOA, New Mexico, here I come!

Copyeditor Sue Rasmussen has had her nose stuck in a book since she learned to read in early elementary school. After working in accounting for more than twenty years, she has been delighted to find a new, portable career as a copyeditor. It not only keeps her supplied with a steady stream of new books to read, but it also gives her the ability to work in an industry she loves and where hearing is unimportant. Sue has been losing her hearing for more than twenty years and is currently learning ASL with her husband. Besides reading, she also loves to sing, enjoys performing in community theatre productions on occasion and loves to cook.

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» Inside Look » Sue Rasmussen: Thoughts about aging
On January 25, 2013
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One Response to Sue Rasmussen: Thoughts about aging

  1. Andrea says:

    I really enjoyed your article. I am 55 and recently purchased a condo in Sun City, AZ, with my husband. My dad passed away when I was 28 and my mother passed 2 years ago. I, too, have had depressing thoughts about aging. I still have one more year to work before I can retire, then we will try the snow bird thing. Best wishes to you, Andrea

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