The first thing I noticed upon my April 20, 2020 retirement is nothing changed. We were entering a period of living in a global pandemic, and a main goal was to live to see the other side of it. Since then, it has become clear the coronavirus pandemic will change, yet not end.
On Feb. 3, the Iowa governor extended the state’s Public Health Disaster Emergency Proclamation regarding the coronavirus pandemic. She announced it would expire at 11:59 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 15. After that, “the coronavirus becomes normalized in daily, routine public health operations,” she said. Agree, or not, our lives of living with the virus continue, such normalization as has been dictated by the government has not made life like it was before we heard the words “coronavirus pandemic.”
This is the first of a series of posts I hope to write about aging in America. While my reach is not far beyond Big Grove Township, universal themes run though my life and I hope to think about and tap into them for my writing.
Since retiring during the pandemic I became a pensioner, which means there is a fixed income mostly from my Social Security pension. I feel flush with cash when the monthly check hits our bank account. That feeling diminishes rapidly until I’m waiting for the next check to hit. As long as there are no major crises, we’ll be okay.
A while back I inventoried every distinct part of my body. There were issues with every major system, and aches and pains accumulated over a lifetime of being physically active. I’m not as flexible as at age 30, yet can bend and crawl in the garden much as I have since our first small one in 1983. The frequent jogging I began during military service has turned into walking. I take a cholesterol medication which is fully paid by insurance. Everything else I do regarding inputs is completely voluntary. My frame seems sturdy, I feel healthy, and am mostly ovo-lacto vegetarian.
Most concerning is my ability to see. I wore eyeglasses since high school and now have a pair of transition lens glasses for general use and a special pair for the computer. I expect my cataracts to harden with increased age. My ophthalmologist told me they have already begun to do so. I have an ophthalmologist.
While my financial and physical condition are important, they are not my main interest here. There are questions to be addressed, if not answered:
- What does intellectual development mean to a septuagenarian?
- How should my diet change with aging?
- What types of social engagement should be pursued?
- What role will I play in Democratic politics?
- What kind of creative output do I seek to accomplish?
It is hard to say how many posts this will take. Like with other big topics, they may not be immediately following each other. Writing about aging in America is a worthy topic, though. I will do my best to not be boring.