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Since I can remember, I’ve always inadvertently fallen into the next thing:  the next job, the next boyfriend, the next pint of ice cream, and so on, and so on.  And more times than not, the next thing hasn’t always been the best thing for me.  But, I’m the loyalist who, by definition, seeks security come hell or high water and, therefore, finds ways to make things “work” even when they actually really suck for me.  I’ve repetitively found myself in job after job that wasn’t quite right, all in the name of being secure (read:  not dying alone in a box under a bridge).  I’ve also repetitively found myself in relationship after relationship that wasn’t quite right, also in the name of being secure (read:  not dying alone in a box under a bridge). You’re noticing a pattern here, I’m sure.

What I’m finding now, though, is that any attempt I make to avoid being alone in the future is futile and will not alleviate the inevitable eventuality that I will, in fact, one day be alone; we all will.

I moved to Boulder, Colorado in 2004 and randomly fell into a job being a companion for an 88-year-old woman named Harriet (rest her soul).  Because of the rapid degradation of her health, I quickly became her care manager and was charged with handling all tasks involved with organizing every aspect of her life.  During the course of our three years together, I fell for her, and, for that matter, for old people in general.  I decided then that working with the elderly was where it’s at for me.

So, now I work with older adults as the Community Relations Director for an assisted living community in San Francisco.  And I love what I do, for the most part.  But the trouble is, I don’t just work with older adults; I die with them, too.  In the nine months that I’ve been there, ten residents have passed.  And here’s what I’ve witnessed with each passing:  at the end of the day, when all is said and done, we all die alone.

Now, please don’t jump to any conclusions here.  I’m not suggesting that there isn’t value in having meaningful relationships and experiences along the way, because obviously, there is.  And, I’m also not suggesting that life is total garbage and fuck it all, although if I’m really honest, sometimes that is how I feel.  What I am saying though is that perhaps our (and by “our” I mean “my”) compulsion to fight tooth and nail to make something work that’s not quite right now in order to avoid being alone later is a pointless waste of energy because, in the end, we can’t be anything but.  And it makes no difference how many husbands or wives or cats or children we’ve been surrounded by along the way, because at the end of the day, it’s just us, alone.  So we better figure out how to be okay with that fact.  Easier said than done, I suppose.  Actually, it’s not easy to say or do no matter how I spin it.  I certainly haven’t figured it out yet but am hoping that one day I will.  Although I’m not holding my breath.


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