I must be at that age where my mortality becomes a consideration of great import. That or I’m looking for a good time and tired of those who are dragging me down – not sure which. I look around and see people in my life I never would’ve imagined would be there, but they are, and they’re great, and I love them! I also see people in my life I’d rather not have,,,, in my life – too much drama, selfishness, baggage. (Bye, see you)

I am 62 years old and have to face the cold hard reality that I am in the ‘autumn’ of my life, maybe even the ‘winter’. You see, my mother is 92 and in long term care in advanced stages of dementia; a hideous brain sucking illness that drains not only the life of its’ victim, but also that of their loved ones. When we reflect back on her life we see signs,,,, signs we missed. By our calculation she was starting to lose her brain cells at 75 or 76, and by 80 she was visibly disabled mentally (couldn’t tell time, couldn’t count, put cat food in the washing machine, etc) and within just a few short years she progressed/declined into what is now a vegetative state.

Her mother suffered the same fate, as did her mothers’ sister. Now my mothers’ sister is displaying signs of dementia (big time) so my sister and I are understandably concerned. This genetic make-up doesn’t bode well for our future, a future I thought was further away. But at 62 I realize it’s closer than I imagined and I’m not confident there’s anything we can do to deflect this gruesome outcome so I’ve decided to make a few changes in my life.

I’m going to spend my time with people who make me laugh. People who are smart (but not arrogantly so – nobody likes a know-it-all) People who like music and children, yes, definitely children, people who dance, play games, eat great food, drink responsibly but appreciate a good buzz, people who never gossip or lie, people who respect life in all forms, and people who enjoy a good Bugs Bunny cartoon.

In return I will promise to get down on the floor and play with children, eat whatever you cook without criticism, not flinch when someone spills on the rug or leaves a ring on my table, let the dust accumulate on my furniture (I really hate dusting) nag you less…..ok, that’s not happening (I was born to nag,,,,why give up a good trait?) and live today like it was the biggest, bestest day of my life! (ok, ok, I know that’s grammatically incorrect but I’m focused on emphasis here so work with me)

The way I see it if I fall victim to my mothers fate I have 10 to 14 years of lucid life left and I plan to use it wisely i.e. I’m going to be very selective about who I spend it with and what I do. There are those in my life who make me want to laugh and dance and sing. I want to be with you. And there are those who weigh me down with sadness, neglect, and worry. I don’t want to be with you. These are the souls I’m cutting loose because life is really too short, shorter than I thought. So if I don’t reach out to you in the next 6 months to get together, it’s probably you. Learn from it.


I suppose disappointment is a fact of life but it doesn’t make it any easier to take and some, it seems, are more prone to its’ frequency. Do we invite disappointment? (unconsciously, of course) Do we set ourselves up for it? Maybe, and if so, is it that we are setting unrealistic expectations about people and outcomes? Probably.

I had a friend in high school (and that’s going waaaaaay back!) who argued that the only person we can count on in life is ourselves. Not your parent, sibling, partner, friend, just you. Disappointment, she said, was our naiveté in trusting others not to hurt, betray, or disappoint us. I always fought her on this because I felt it was such an uncharitable view of humanity. In my innocence I truly believed the people in whom we placed our trust would never hurt us. Forty five years later I sadly acknowledge that she was right because like everyone else, I’ve had my share of disappointments in life.

People don’t mean to hurt others but there is no escape for any of us; there simply is no life without disappointment. It comes down to different ideals, different priorities, different  desires, and a complete lack of effective communication. Talking openly about our feelings and expectations leaves us vulnerable, open to ridicule and criticism, even rejection if the other party doesn’t feel the same way, so we are reluctant to bear our souls. And even if we do, the other party may not see the disappointment inflicted the same way as you.

So. Is this a grin and bear it situation? How we deal with our disappointment varies depending on the priority of the situation, the priority that is, to the one being disappointed. The other party (the inflictor of the disappointment) likely doesn’t see it as a priority at all. But our character  dictates how we will deal with it. Will we lay defeated and broken, or will we rise above it before the disappointment takes root, leading to bitterness and anger. Either way the road is yours to follow alone and you can’t lay the blame on the ‘inflictor’, rather you should lay the blame on yourself for expecting too much. (so I guess the lesson here is to expect nothing and you’ll never be disappointed?)

People will disappoint you and the more you have invested in the relationship the deeper the disappointment is felt, but with maturity comes the wisdom; the wisdom to know how to stop whining and when to move on because disappointment is inevitable. And sometimes moving on means cutting these people loose.