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The Perfect Solution

I am currently living in a patio home subdivision for retired people where the average age is around 80. But that’s OK. It’s small, but I live alone so I don’t need a lot of space. I don’t have to do any landscaping, snow removal, etc. All of the neighbors look out for each other so I am notified of any burglars or bears in the vicinity. There are 2 other people my age who live here, although I never see them. And it is a substantial improvement from the apartment I lived in before I found this place. And it’s a miracle that I was able to buy it at all, so I’m thankful for my humble abode.
 
I feel bad because my neighbors want me to be more social, but that’s not going to happen. First of all, I have a job. And because I have a 45 minute commute and play tennis in the evenings and on weekends, I don’t spend much time at home. And even if I were home more often, I wouldn’t spend my spare time socializing with senior citizens. Not that there’s anything wrong with them. They’re all perfectly nice. I just don’t have a lot in common with them.
 
Last year one of my neighbors had a party for her 88th birthday. I tried to will myself to go, but no amount of guilt and shame could motivate me to do it. Last week someone called me to let me know that my neighbor’s aunt died and when the funeral was. I hate funerals. I avoid them at all costs. So I certainly wasn’t about to go for some aunt of some neighbor who I barely know. Another neighbor keeps inviting me to go to church with her. I think she’s trying to convert me.
 
Although everyone looks out for each other because of the increased likelihood that someone really could fall and not be able to get up, they still probably wouldn’t think to check on me because I’m never home. And if I had some emergency, it would probably be late at night when everyone is asleep. And even if I could work up the courage to call one of them in the middle of the night–which is unlikely since I feel so guilty for being such a terrible neighbor–I doubt they would be able to lift me, given their own physical limitations.
 
Last night my friends were trying to help me come up with solutions for how to deal with emergencies. Maybe I should get one of those life alert buttons. Or maybe I should get a lanyard and wear my phone around my neck at all times. Or since I’m a warrior, maybe I could crawl to my phone or my iPad, even if it takes me hours to reach it. So if I ever post “Help! I’ve fallen and I can’t get up!” be sure to check on me.
 
I’ve been watching the commercials for an assisted living facility in my area, and it hit me that this is the perfect solution. If I lived in one, I wouldn’t have to worry about living alone because help would be right there on the premises! Plus meals are included, so I’d never have to cook. And after doing some research, I discovered that they also provide housekeeping, laundry services, and grocery shopping! I could literally spend all my free time writing, watching and playing tennis, knitting, making jewelry, and hanging out with friends. Heck, I could probably even pick up another hobby.
 
My friend told me that you have to be at least 55 to live in one of these facilities. By then I would also qualify for the 55 and over division in tennis and hopefully dominate on the court if I’m still healthy. So I guess that’s something to look forward to in case this whole relationship thing doesn’t work out.
 

About Christy Barongan

I didn't know it at the time, but I wanted to be a psychologist so that I could figure out how to be normal. I think many people come to counseling for the same reason. What I've come to learn is that feeling good about myself is not about trying to be normal. It's about trying to be me. But it's a constant struggle for me, just like it is for everyone else. So I thought I would approach this task with openness and honesty and use myself as an example for how to practice self-acceptance.

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