Friday, May 02, 2008

On the Way Down

A good friend and former colleague always used to tell me that he would retire when the Dow Jones hit 13,000. That seemed a long way off, but one day it happened and I e-mailed him immediately to remind him of his pronouncement. Steve is pretty conservative, at least fiscally, so he didn’t immediately announce his retirement and as he continued to work, the Dow actually climbed past 14,000. Finally, he came up with a date for retirement, but he looked at the figures carefully and changed his mind. I saw him not long afterwards and he clarified his statement: “When I said I would retire when the Dow Jones hit 13, 000, I didn’t mean on the way down.”

I am on the way down. Like Miss Jean Brodie, I had a prime, but it is long passed. Perhaps I should devise a graph like the one for the DJIA and plot my descent. There would be several lines, each representing a different function, like mental acuity, physical coordination, ambition, energy, decision making skills—well, you get the idea. All of them would point to the nether regions of the graph. It would be interesting to see if they descend lock step, or if some years some functions fall apart in some kind of geometric progression while others are in free-fall or remain relatively stable. Some disintegration is obvious and can be documented: some long overdue house cleaning yesterday left my body in agony and caused havoc with the arthritis in my right ankle, I watch Lucy jump up between courses and whip up a desert which I thought of making a half hour before dinner, but which seemed “too much work.” Some of my unraveling is a disconnect between what was and what is, when I look on in total amazement as my children gracefully wrestle with their families and jobs and school and church and sports and all the responsibilities I could once perform without breaking a sweat.

The economic picture has not been bright, but yesterday the Dow passed 13,000 again and continued its climb upwards today. Perhaps the economy is on the way up.

I am not.


Ann said...

Oh,my. I am so sorry to hear this. Perhaps you will "rise again." I can definitely feel my physical decline, despite running and yoga several times a week. But my RELATIONSHIP to my body is better than it has been in a long time. My spiritual life is better than it has EVER been. My wisdom grows daily, I believe. I'm 55. I'm absolutely LOVING my 50s. I didn't care for the 40s at all. So I'm climbing/rising, I think. I wish the same for you.

Beryl Ament said...

Ann, my sister-in-law Mary Ann said it best after she had looked after her grand-daughter for a few days, "The good news is I've discovered that I can still care for a baby, tend the house, work outside in the lawn and keep my correspondance and the laundry up to date. The bad news is that I can no longer even attempt more than one of those areas in the same day (more likely the same week.) So, since Mary has been with us for almost a week, you can probably imagine the utter chaos taking place in the rest of my life."

Thanks for your encouraging comment: perhaps I should qualify my remarks and say that while I am assuredly on the way down, I'm not yet on my way out!

Del said...

YOU, on the way down?! Baahhhh! Never. Always a glint in the eye, always the joie-de-vivre.

Now, the 40's, like Ann said, THAT's tough. My mental acuity and strenth has been diminishing markedly since I hit 40 some years ago, but of course I compare myself to my FABULOUS past. Maybe you do too??