Who will I be?

Who will I be when both my parents are gone and I am no longer a daughter?
Or if I lose my partner and I am no longer a spouse?

Who will I be when I have no job to go to and I am no longer an employee or colleague? 

Who will I be when I no longer have a house or garden to tend? When I am living alone in a small room or apartment with strangers all around me?

Who will I be when the faces and voices on television are my only companions or, worse, when the voices I hear and faces I see are only in my befuddled mind?

Who will I be when the television’s remote control batteries die and I sit in silence all day because I don’t remember how to change them?

Who will I be when I no longer know what day it is and a printed calendar is nowhere to be found?

Who will I be when I can barely raise my arms to put on a sweater or when my gnarled fingers can’t fasten the buttons on my shirt?

Growing old is a privilege denied to many, they say.  But if granted that privilege, it is how we do it that counts. Most of us plan to grow old gracefully and financially secure, but there is another saying about the best laid plans going awry.  There are no guarantees in life but if I have the privilege of growing old(er) this is who I hope I will be:

I hope I will be kind to those who are caring for me, even if they are strangers.

I hope I will hold my head high and command respect, even if my capacities are diminished.

I hope I will adapt and find interests and little pleasures to match my capacities instead of railing against what I have lost.

I hope I will be good company even if I am in pain or feeling lonely so my children and
others look forward to visiting me.

I hope I stay curious about others and the world around me even if I don’t understand everything that’s going on.

I hope I choose to live life by focusing on the good things and people still in it.

When I’m 64
(Lennon & McCartney)

When I get older losing my hair
Many years from now
Will you still be sending me a Valentine
Birthday greetings bottle of wine

You’ll be older too
And if you say the word
I could stay with you

I could be handy, mending a fuse
When your lights have gone
You can knit a sweater by the fireside
Sunday mornings go for a ride
Doing the garden, digging the weeds
Who could ask for more

Will you still need me, will you still feed me
When I’m sixty-four

Every summer we can rent a cottage
In the Isle of Wight, if it’s not too dear
We shall scrimp and save
Grandchildren on your knee
Vera, Chuck and Dave

Send me a postcard, drop me a line
Stating point of view
Indicate precisely what you mean to say
Yours sincerely, wasting away

Give me your answer, fill in a form
Mine for evermore
Will you still need me, will you still feed me
When I’m sixty-four

8 thoughts on “Who will I be?

    • Yes, the answers are harder to find than in the other rites of passage: childhood, adolescence, young adulthood. I think what I’m realizing is that the people who age most successfully, more than anything else, have the right attitude about it. Hope I do too!


  1. It seems many of us are thinking along these lines lately. I especially enjoyed this post because it states what so many of us are thinking … & we realize it’s likely the answers will make themselves known when we are living the circumstances. In many countries the elderly are revered & appreciated but we see around us evidence that that isn’t always the case, at least not in the US. Ending with ‘When I’m 64’ certainly adds to the thought-provoking words of this post. May we all drift through our twilight years with dignity, most of our faculties intact … & loved.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s so true that our culture is all about looking young, staying young, etc. There are a lot of good things about that, but it also doesn’t leave much room for the elderly and their needs. The last line of your message is perfect and everything we can hope for in our golden years.


  2. Thinking of my mom, it brought a tear to my eye about not changing the battery because you forgot how to change them. This is reality for many elderly, and it’s unavoidable to wonder about your own future sometimes. I hope most of us will be able to age with awareness and alertness for as long as possible and have faith in our loved ones for the rest. Thanks Linda.


    • Hi Melanie, I know we share similar situations with our elderly mothers, including the remote control battery situation. The post was inspired by my Mom and her life right now at 94 years old. Thanks for reading and stay well.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Profound thoughts,.Heartbreaking moments in one’s life which I believe we go through with courage that we often think we don’t have. This is our life.

    Liked by 1 person

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