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A Meditation on Aging 
My mom at 95 going on 96. Most people wish for a long life - reasonable given the alternative. Most people, too, to the extent that they consider their wish, anticipate living a long, vigorous, and self-directed life. Much later, in the unknowable future, they depart quietly at night under the covers of their own bed in their own home.     
This ideal ending eludes most people.    
Instead, old age places a series of increasingly unreasonable demands upon us. Old age demands that we marshal all the wisdom and all the courage we are able to summon at a time when our vital energies are on the wane.     
It’s a titanic struggle. My mom has approached the challenge with good humor and a strong spirit.     

We learn humility in a thousand different ways: we, who have been the foundation on which others have built their lives, now find ourselves in need of assistance. Can we bring ourselves to ask without ceding our agency over ourselves?   We learn that the medical community, which served us well in our youth, struggles to first do no harm to the aged. A trip to the hospital kicks off a downward spiral as readily as a road to recovery. Geriatric care, little known and poorly appreciated, has its own set of rights and rituals. We find ourselves on foreign ground, where the landscape of providers, services, and rules seems murky.   I have learned three things in accompanying my mom on her journey: value your health—become close acquaintances with the barbell and the kettlebell; get your affairs, both big and small, in order; and, get to know your local, credentialed geriatric care manager sooner rather than later. The guidance that these professionals provide along the way makes all the difference.   Bette Davis said, "Old age ain't no place for sissies.” She was right. 
Doug C.