I have a lot on my mind this week, including some significant birthdays – my Husband Jason’s and my Nanna’s. She’ll be 90. Whilst it’s a time for celebration, it also has a bittersweet tang, as so many relatives are gathering and they, like me, are all falling victim to age and the changes it brings.
The idea of getting old doesn’t sit well with me and I try to avoid thinking about it. I certainly try to avoid the thought that with technology, I too could live to 90. I’m not sure that I want to, regardless of what advances the next 60 years bring.
The thing I’m most worried about is the likelihood that at some stage, I will lose my sight. My world has always been a visual one. I’m obsessed with light and form and recording that. I’ve sometimes mentioned that things would be over for me if I were to lose my sight…and that’s not a point I make lightly. At this stage of my life, I just can’t comprehend what I would do with myself.
In my last job I was fortunate enough to speak to people from many different backgrounds. The nature of the role meant that often they wished to share their stories, and not all of them were happy (I did have happy too, don’t worry). One conversation that has stuck with me was a conversation I had with an older man whose eyesight was failing. An avid reader, he was distraught that his eyesight was going and told me in no uncertain terms that he wanted to check out. That without his books, there was no life for him.
I encouraged him to not give up and to develop his love of cooking or music. I asked if he owned a mp3 player or if he could get one and I encouraged him to speak to his family about loading some e-books onto it for him. I knew it wasn’t the same, but he confessed that he hadn’t thought of alternatives and thanked me for taking the time to listen.
I hope that he took comfort in my words and found a way to adapt to the changes in his life.
I hope too, that when my time comes and I’m faced with such a challenge that there are equally kind words to assist me.
Do you know of an artist that has faced a great challenge? How did they adapt? I’d love to hear your stories.