Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Getting Old

Everyday I sit and talk to old people about Medicare. I see the future everyday. We will get old and it is possible some of us will get diseases that sneak up on us. We may lose our minds and get alzhiemers and dementia. We may experience kidney failure or crippling rhuematoid arthritis. Some of us, at a young age, might move or jerk in a certain way or slip on something or have an occupational related accident that causes us to have gut wrenching lower back pain, which causes us to lose our jobs. Then we will be dependent on Social Security disability income for the rest of our lives. (Disability situations baffle me. Don't get me started on the questions they raise in my mind.) We may have knees and hips replaced. Over the course of our life we may have many colonoscopies, prostate exams, mamograms, pap smears, bone density tests and talk about them with our retired friends every morning as we eat sausage and biscuits down at Hardee's. (Hardee's is a fast food joint here in SC where all the old folks hang out in the morning. I eat there every once in a while to build my client base.) It is possible that we will become really good freinds with the pharmacist at Wal-Mart, where we will get our prescriptions filled for Zocor, Zoloft, Plavix, Lipitor, Bloodpressure medicine, and our water pills. We may lose our memory and ask people the same questions over and over, just to have someone to talk to because we are very lonely. As I talk with people everyday, with one or a combination of the issues I mentioned above, it really gets me thinking.

I ask myself, "How do I prevent Alzheimers? How can I keep from having a stint put in my heart? One day will I be stuck with 500 dollars a month in prescription drugs, when my social security check is only $800/month? Is that a preventable situation in my life?" Just thinking about the possible medical difficulties and worrying about them could drive a man crazy!

I wonder if I will leave this earth first and leave Laura here by herself? Will I become depressed and lose my will to live if Laura leaves me on the earth? What is most important in my life? I have talked to widows and widowers and realized I only have between 50 and 60 years to love Laura as much as I can.

Are we counting our days? Subtract your age from 70 and then multiply it by 365. That is a good estimate of the days you have left to wake up and see the sunrise. On November 21st this year, according to this equation, I will have 16,425 days left to give my life away. When I look through these glasses and the lenses of seeing old people at the end of their life, I see the futility in money and selfish gain and ambition. Yet I see the struggles and heartache of not having much money at this stage in life. Who cares what my title is or how much money I made this month. What I want to know is who did I give my life away to. I ask myself everyday what am I'm living for? What am I holding on to that is keeping me from giving it away? What can I invest my life, breath and energy in that will last for eternity? Stu Weber in his book "Tender Warrior" said that the only things that will last for eternity are the church and the Word of God. Another quote I have heard says something like, "Everyone lasts for eternity, it just depends on whether it is in heaven or hell."

My job also makes me think about retirement. I wonder how long my body will last. How long will I be able to walk and use my hands? Should I retire? Will I be able to retire? Will Social Security be around? Do I really need Social Security if I plan for retirement right now? I also ask myself, what do I want to do when I retire? Well? Why not start doing that today?

Sometimes I get annoyed at the old people I talk to. This one man has come into Wal-Mart to visit me about 5 times in the last 2 weeks. He asks the same questions every time and talks in circles repeating himself every 45 seconds. He eats every morning at Bojangles, not Hardee's. He talks and talks and makes other possible customers, with which I could sell some insurance to, wait around and then leave. The first few times it upset me, but now I look forward to seeing him because, he won't be here very long. He has become a familiar face to me. He will probably pass away in the next 10 years or so or possibly earlier than that. I just decided to appreciate the life that is in him, and when he comes to visit me I smile and we talk and I answer his questions and don't let my blood pressure rise out of impatience and the thought of a lost sale to someone else.

. . . I need to get a job working with kids . . .

. . .I think I think too much . . .


Pat Bates November 11, 2005 4:04 PM  

I just re-discovered this web-page, great entry Danny, I haven't spoken to you in awhile, I'll get in touch with you sometime in the near future to say "hello."

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