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January 4, 2017

A Free Spirit

Richard Hart and I were involved in running a nonprofit organization for about 20 years. He's impressive, not just because of his tremendous honesty and intelligence, but because of his endless curiosity about the world and his talent for analyzing everything and applying what he has learned. He has never stopped learning.

Richard is about my mother's age, and like my mother he has recently moved - with his wife - to a residential facility. Because his wife needs additional assistance, he has chosen to live with her in the "memory care" section of the residence. He now blogs about their life at Residential Care For Two.

Unlike my mother and many of her contemporaries, who gave up on new technology about 30 years ago, Richard keeps his skills up to date. He is always willing to learn something new - like using the Uber app. Few people look forward to the day when they will have to give up driving, but Richard is smart enough to know that day is soon, and he is doing plenty of research as he prepares himself to handle it.

I wouldn't call Richard's blog emotional, although he describes some of the emotional and psychological issues in his life. He writes straightforwardly about the challenges he faces, and includes practical tips about things like investing in annuities and deciphering Medicare. His post about driving brought a tear to my eye. He wrote, "As long as we have the car and I can drive, I can believe I am a free spirit.... I am not yet one of 'them'...."

What makes Richard stand out from the crowd is his self-awareness and his courage. He accepts what he must, but not with helpless resignation. He continues to make choices and take action, so that to the full extent that they are able, he and his wife can enjoy a meaningful life together.

Note: That's not Richard in the photo; it's just an illustration I chose to symbolize the spirit of his blog.

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