alt

Alternatives…
by
Thom Cantrall
2/20/2019
Our life is shaped by alternatives… the direction of our life is determined by the choice of alternatives we make. Amazingly, each individual tends to choose similar alternatives as he ages… he seldom varies but moves from one choice to the next on the same road.
As we age, we find those alternatives diminishing. Often this is as a result of the prior choices we have made in our life. Some alternatives are self-eliminating… choose one and the other set are no longer viable… Choose the left and the right disappears. Further, as we age, outside influences limit our alternatives. Diminished income limits our ability to partake of various activities… Health concerns limits our abilities to travel or to perform certain tasks…
Then there are those alternatives that are removed from us by circumstance… Today I find myself required to “sign out” to simply go to lunch. I have to wait for someone to have the time in their busy lives to be able to take me as there is no public transportation available in my area that can be utilized… another alternative gone…
Now, I find the most tragic of this loss of alternative… I no longer have the alternative to enjoy quiet contemplation and relaxation… I have three neighbors who insist on playing their televisions in the “Ultra-Loud” condition… (Have you ever listened to three straight hours of Barney Fife screaming through your walls? My advice… DON’T!)
According to the staff here, he has the “right” to play his tv and they cannot ask him to limit the volume… What about my right to a calm place to live? Does not the right of another to swing his arm stop somewhere short of my nose?
Move somewhere else? No… that alternative has been removed from me without severe costs… more dear than I am able to pay at this time… Due to the choices of prior alternatives… Which brings us to a new revelation… with age, comes the diminution of alternative to the point of, ultimately, the elimination of choice and we are forced to live subject to the whim and control of others… in case one wonders why the aged are often considered ill-tempered…
When alternative is gone, so is the meaning of life and life becomes redundant and meaningless. It is no longer worth the effort as there is no longer a reward, one is merely a lump in a chair, being pushed through life from a bed in a miserable room to a meal of barely edible pap and back to a room deluged in the sounds of others… to the point that we are no longer able to recognize even what is occurring around us. Believe me, living here, I see that every day. There are many here who do not even know where they are nor who are around them.
In many ways I am very blessed in that I have wonderful friends who include me in their lives… they share their lives with me and they encourage me in my endeavors. My maladies are physical, not mental… for that I am so eternally grateful… My IQ remains in the upper 140′s as it was prior to this deterioration but it is trapped in a shell much like the late British Physicist, Stephen Hawking.  My intellect (if not my short-term memory) remains intact while my body atrophies…
But… as alternatives diminish so does quality of life, to the point that when alternative disappears, life disappears and will no longer be tolerated. Shall we see what the next period brings?