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Ever since the post I wrote on aging, I’ve been in such a funk. Seeing a family member’s health deteriorate, touring nursing homes, talking to lawyers and health care professionals, and researching long-term care is an intensely depressing reminder of mortality. The illusive line between now and an obscure time in the future can feel like a tightrope where perfect planning and self-discipline must be achieved to avoid going over the edge.

When events seem to be spinning out of control, my natural inclination is to tighten the reins. In an effort to be smart about advance planning, I listened to financial gurus like Suze Orman, read government websites, and scrambled to find other resources and pearls of wisdom from the experts.  I’m sure Suze means well – she seems like a caring person – but I’m feeling the pressure. Did I save enough? Do I have enough insurance? Do my family members know where the critical documents are? Will the stress from worrying about all these things kill me before I even reach old age?

My dour mood became overarching; it constrained my writing. I didn’t know what to write about because anxiety filled my head. I am diligent about maintaining my health because I don’t want to lose my independence, and at the same time fear that my good health will position me to outlive my means. Too much media, caffeine, expert advice or all of the above? It reminds me of an old joke: “I’ve been reading so much about the bad effects of smoking, I decided to quit reading.”

Today I decided to give it a rest and get back to writing, which helps me to put things in perspective and feel life flowing through my veins. As far as the future goes, we do what we can to prepare, but still need to live in the present. Like an acrobat on a tightrope, it’s a matter of finding our own sense of balance.

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