Friday, August 7, 2015

Life's Plan, Not Your Plan.

If there is anything that I have learned as I get older, it's that life will take you in directions that you did not prepare for. I think back to when my sister and I were in our mid twenties, how we used to put forward scenarios of what could happen to our parents, where we would be living, what kind of jobs we would be doing. Then we would have these perfect responses, solve all dilemmas and move on with our perfectly organised world. Boy, young people have no idea of the way life can be like a runaway train. ..................................... We used to believe that if Dad died first, mom being independent, would move to the city and travel to see her sisters living in other parts of the country. We felt she would probably volunteer for a hospital, she would want to remain active. We never really worried about her, she would age fine. Dad on the other hand, we worried about, without mom he would probably spend the rest of his days eating bacon, pies and cookies. He would be lost without her, a traditional farmer, he handled everything outside but not a lot inside the house. For years we teased him about the time he cooked a frozen pizza.... upside down. T.v. dinners were no better, he figured if it took 45 minutes at 300 degrees then 450 should give you a dinner in 25 or so minutes. Resulting in burned on the outside, frozen on the inside, yum. ................................... I thought I would be a total city man, I hated the farm growing up, the isolation, the hardships and feeling like the only gay guy in the world. I loved the animals but I couldn't wait to get to the bright lights of the big city. My sister on the other hand was a total country girl, she loved horses, dogs, nature and always said she wanted to be a vet with her own small ranch. ............................................ Fast forward to the beginning of our real life. Mom the strongest one of the family began to show signs of memory loss, confusion and change in personality. Dad and sis at first denied it but soon there was no mistaking what was happening. My Dad said he would quit farming, sell everything, so he could spend his full time taking care of mom for as long as he could. We began to talk about this step, when life stepped in again and killed Dad with cancer, one day he was this strong farmer doing his normal routine and suddenly ten weeks later, I was standing at his graveside saying goodbye. ...................................... Well here we are now, all these years later. There will be no trips for mom, no little volunteer job to fill her time, we can only hope she will be happy where we place her. Dad is gone but we didn't think this soon, it didn't fit our plan, we were supposed to lose him in his eighties not early seventies. My sister works in a government type job, is counting the years until retirement and bought a house in the city, she renovated it so that she can remain there until well into her old age. She said there will be no ranch, no horse, this is her life now, she enjoys all that the city has to offer. I returned to the farm when Dad became ill and have remained here since. Oddly enough, I have started to enjoy the country more the older I get. The slower pace, the peace, quite and frankly the lower population appeals to the cranking old man in me. The thing that strikes me the most ironic, is after mom is placed, I will be alone here on the farm, the person who wanted to leave the most, will be the last to leave. ........................................ Life's plan looks nothing like the plan of those young people or the plan that my parents had for themselves. The scary thing is that this runaway train has not gone off the rails, its still barreling down the tracks and I fear what it has in store for us around the bend. Clearly life is in control of where we end up, some of us get lucky and the plans match, however be prepared for you never know what life is about to throw at you.


Ur-spo said...

Almost nobody I know is 'what they thought they would be' or predicted anything how they are now. I think one of the measures of Life is how plastic you are to become what happens rather than become bitter over plans gone 'bad'.

larrymuffin said...

It is true that life changes us, I call it Fate. BUT! you can certainly change things if you want to. Who says you must remain on the farm once your mother enters a care facility. You could, if you wanted to, sell everything and move to the City, any city you choose really. It is all a question of what you want to do and you can be selfish if you wish (without hurting others). You only get one chance in this world so make plans and stick to them and suddenly you will ask why did I not do that before.
On the other hand if you wish to stay in the country, there are towns closer to the big city which offer more contact and more connection, easier ways to get around and meet people. It is really up to you. BTW we did meet in person with Spo but for the life of me the memory I have is of a young person mid-thirties, so who is this old guy or older person?