The Future, Considered

It’s easy to trundle along thinking life will always be like it is now.

My lovely wife’s father has been ill for over a decade. He lived at home as long as he could. But eventually he wound up in the hospital and now, for the past couple of months, in a nursing home. It’s the best situation, with care on hand.

We visited him for Easter, and he’s in a room with an occupancy of four. He has a closet for a few clothes, a bulletin board above his bed, and a wee rolling shelf box beside the bed. Simple living.

Naturally, after visiting, my thoughts eventually roll to our own future. What if we end up in a similar situation? You want to live in your own home for as long as you can, of course, but as he discovered, health conditions can easily dictate otherwise despite your wishes.

And, being a collector, my brain takes the next logical step and asks: what about the records? Sure, they’d be at home. But, as an example, he’s unlikely to ever return home. And there’s no space in a place like that for anything like a turntable and even a few records. And, even if there was, the other three roommates might not like the tunes, so it’d be all headphones… I suppose an iPod would do, as a vehicle for getting the music to your ears.

And after we pass, what then? I don’t suppose I care what happens to any of it after I’m gone – I can’t play them anymore, after all – but the thought nags and, after our visit, I look at the collection in a different way. All my readings of Zen, Tao, and Walden flood back. I think minimalist. I calculate my current age and start guessing when I’ll be unable to maintain a private residence. It may never happen. Could be in 30 years. And so on. Isn’t my brain FUN?

The other side of this whole thing is to just not think about it, for now, and just enjoy the hell out of the music while I can. But that thought of the future will always be in there, and seeing his set-up which, admittedly, is comfortable and clean and enough, preemptively undoes all of my collecting efforts and life-hours. Eyes open.


5 thoughts on “The Future, Considered

  1. jprobichaud says:

    This getting old thing sucks man. I had a similar (but different) Easter, spending the majority of it in a hospital visiting with the mother-in-law. Best not to think about what will happen to your collection in the future. Enjoy it in the present, I say. Rock on.


  2. deKE says:

    Sorry to hear about your father in law…
    Yeah its a tough call for all that you have worked hard for years to be whittled down to a bed/closet and sharing a room of 4…
    But time waits for no one unfortunately…
    On the other hand its great that your Wife’s father has great family support Im sure he will appreciate the visits..
    Take Care…


    1. keepsmealive says:

      Thanks Deke, yeah it’s a tough one, but he’s got loads of support and his new digs seem real swell (for what it is). Maybe my kids will be into records and they can fight over who gets what when I’m gone, you know?

      Tom Waits for no one, you say? 😉 Tom Waits for me, please!


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