Borrowed Time

Lately, nary a day goes by that I don’t hear news of another illness, and tragic illness at that, people my own age with terminal cancer, MS, ALS, Parkinson’s disease.  I’ll be honest with you – I feel as if I’m in a war zone of sickness, dodging bullets filled with disease.  Every night I’m able to go to bed unscathed is another battle won.

Where is this all death and darkness coming from?  I’m not buying the fact that its purely demographics, that all my acquaintances are “of a certain age” and therefore prone to illness.  There’s simply too much of it.

I’m more likely to give credence to the theory that our combination of additive filled foods and polluted environment are slowly but surely contaminating us.  The cumulative effect of years of poor nutrition and exposure to environmental hazards is finally catching up with us, setting off all sorts of adverse chemical processes in our bodies and causing them to turn on us.

I’m also becoming more and more convinced that the 21st century lifestyle is lethal.  You know what I’m talking about – the constant stresses about money and jobs, the worries about terrorism and war, the persistent gloomy predictions about everything from the economy to the survival of planet earth.  Add to that the frantic pace of daily life, the constant bombardment of phones and e-mail and social media demanding our attention, the feeling that there’s never enough time in the day to accomplish all the tasks clamoring for our attention.

Frankly, I’m completely exhausted.

Last week as we attempted to jump through all the necessary hoops to satisfy our insurance company’s requirement for reimbursement, I collapsed on the sofa in frustration.

“F*@# it,” I said.  “I give up.  Let’s take all our money and go live in a hut in some third world country where they’ve never heard of insurance.  We’ll just live there until we get sick and then we’ll die in peace in our own bed.”

“Fine,” my husband said, tossing his pencil and calculator aside.  “When do we leave?”

I was only half kidding then, and the more I think about, the more serious I become.  The thought of living this kind of lifestyle for the remainder of my days is becoming almost too daunting to contemplate.  Not to mention trying to cope with the myriad of ways life will change over the next 25 or 30 years – there’s me, quaking in my proverbial boots.

Here’s what I’m really looking for, the image that comes to mind as the ideal lifestyle – Mayberry.  The little town in North Carolina that was home to Sheriff Andy Taylor, Aunt Bee, little Opie, and daffy detective Barney Fife.  Life was slow and easy, and the biggest problems were whether Otis would need to dry out overnight in his comfy jail cell or Barney would lose his single daily bullet allotment.  Supper was shared every night at the same time, followed by a spell of settin’ on the porch.  Maybe Andy would get out his guitar and sing a few songs before everyone headed off to bed.

I dream of going back to a time and place like that, and I know it’s an impossibility.  But I feel as if I’m living on borrowed time here – if the economy and the crime and the stress don’t get me, then one of those horrible diseases everyone seems prey to surely will.

I also feel like a sitting duck, waiting here powerlessly for it all to happen.

I don’t like that feeling one bit.

How about you? Where would you go to escape the stress and dangers of modern life?


5 thoughts on “Borrowed Time

  1. Well, I’ve done the mud hut in a village routine. Actually, it was a concrete block house in a compound, but it was for several years and it was West Africa and trust me – life’s no simpler there. Just different.

    I suppose the serious answer to your question – where would I go to escape? – is that I’m not going anywhere. I’ve simply made decisions over the past two decades that have helped me create a life for myself that allows me to live without being affected by many of those stresses and strains you mentioned.

    No more corporate life – I taught myself a trade and began my own business. No more constant distraction – I stopped watching tv, never adopted texting and gave up facebook and twitter (except for notifications of new blog posts). I drive a 21 year old car. I rarely buy anything. I make it an ironclad rule to pay no attention to things I truly can do nothing about: nuclear reactors in Iran. Sabre-rattling on the Korean penninsula. The possibility of lingering oil in the deep water columns of the Gulf.

    And I pay NO attention whatsoever to anyone who’s making money off predictions of doom and gloom.

    In short, I’ve taken back some of the power to decide my own life. I have to remind myself on a daily basis I have that power – but the more I exercise it, the happier I am.

  2. Taking back the power to decide your own life…I think that’s key to any kind of peace in the “real” world these days. It seems that so much is out of our control, and the thought that we might not have to accept that is empowering in itself.

    Thanks, Linda. And good for you!

  3. I live in a country where I don’t need to worry about health insurance as that’s automatically paid by my taxes and both my husband and I are not impacted by the economic recession so we don’t really have to deal with financial worries at the moment.

    I am sometimes exhausted by our fast pace of life….overtime & stress at work due to projects but I try to consider that as challenging and a good thing. Additionally I have too many hobbies (diving, choir, yoga, running, …) but if it gets too much I slack off in those. I do try to keep on doing yoga as I believe I need it to clear my mind and destress and I think running has the same effect on me.

    What I do worry about is my parent’s health and the health of their friends…There too it seems that everyone is getting gloomy diagnosis and that’s so scary and difficult to deal with. I’m with you on the fact that we’ve killed the environment and are now paying the price on our own health. I feel helpless about that.

  4. Well, my escape is the lake where there is no real stress. (OK, last year’s raccoons in the chimney was stressful.) But even going there isn’t what it used to be, with the arrival of the big box stores, Wal-Mart, traffic jams and jet skis. You have tolook a little harder for the quiet.

    I couldn’t agree more about the stressful life style and the various environmental strains on our health. I know it has affected mine. And long for the day when it’s less of a strain just to keep going every day.

  5. I have so much to say about this but I won’t bore you – only to say that I agree, and H and I have been dealing with quite a bit of this sort of thing lately. It’s frustrating.

    You are right about our diet and our lifestyle. At this late date, I’ve started meditating. Ha! It helps.

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