Making the Most of a Challenged Longevity.

Woke up the other day with an impression from some years ago of a heavy set woman with neatly coiffed hair, (likely in her late 70’s) sitting paralyzed in a custom fit wheel chair usually beside a window in the common area of a long term care home.

What is most memorable in this impression is the fact that she is still – in a constant silent state, reading a propped up book, fixed on two pages by the pencil-like stick she clenched in her mouth. Every time I passed her I would say hello and she would blink back without skipping her page spot. I thought then and now, how well read she must be, about what I’m not sure. Maybe it was Proust.

How much longer she is to live, unable to move except for her mouth to flick the reading stick, most likely will be determined by a number of health factors. But the activeness of her mind in constant reading was her way of making the most of a challenged longevity.

This impression got me thinking, how do we come full circle in our lives as we age? What is the promise of longevity? What activity will surface to serve us in any restraint on our mobility, to replace the trips we used to take, or the work we wished to retire from? “There are perhaps no days of our childhood we lived so fully as those we spent with a favourite book”. Marcel Proust

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