Wednesday, 10 May 2017

Thought Picnic: Knowing I have a life to live

A change I could not avoid
Five years ago, on the 30th of April 2012, I finalised the sale of my apartment in Amsterdam and handed the keys over to a young couple hardly 30, who had expectations and a future ahead of them, my sadness at that time, however, did not take away from the very best wishes I had towards them.
My illness and the global credit crisis coincided in one perfect storm that I could no longer afford to keep the place in which I lived and had owned for ten and half years.
Yet, it is not their story that inspires me or spurs me on, the couple I bought my apartment from in 2001 were in their mid to late 70s, they had lived in Eindhoven in the south of the Netherlands for 25 years, in the lives of others like them, they should have been coasting to a quiet life of retirement and waiting for God, but they were a different breed.
Youth in the chances you take
She was already 70 and her husband, a few years older when they decided to buy an apartment off the plan in a new development in bustling Amsterdam, they completed the purchase and moved up to Amsterdam for three years where she became the chairperson of the residents and owners’ association of the apartment block that had 69 apartments in all.
After three years of a racy life in Amsterdam, they sold the apartment to me at a healthy profit to themselves and moved to an exclusive hospice-like residence on the banks of the River Rijn in Arnhem, what came across to me in what they did was a youthful exuberance and zest to live life to the full and embark on adventure many younger than them won’t even dare contemplate.
I have had to refresh my mind about this because it matters a lot about how I craft my outlook, future and prospects. Now, I am neither unaware of my vulnerability and mortality, both are ever present because of the afflictions of the past, but they must not define my daily quest in the pursuit of happiness and relevance to self and my close community.
Reality and expectation
Many times, I have thought of my eventual death and in some ways, I wonder why I am at all bothered about where and how I am going to be buried, yet, it is an issue that appears to concern me a bit that it would be prudent to have plans in place to settle that matter and take it completely off my mind. I have a life to live and until I am dead, I really cannot afford to start dying for my death.
Then, there is a cloud that comes around in a strange weather of my existence that inches me towards closing the books and shutting down as if death is imminent, some sort of premonition that needs attention, but I really cannot do anything once I am gone, that is left to those who feel I have been hopefully useful in their own lives, if I predecease them.
The drudgery in the background
I find that I have to boot myself out of that brooding situation and refuse to be overwhelmed by the exigencies of living, the search for fruitful engagement, the paying of the bills, the meeting of all sorts of responsibilities and the hope for a bit extra to have an open hand to others as well as having that much more for the pleasures of life.
I appreciate certain limitations, I enjoy good medical care, my medication is fully subsidised, my consultants have a good history of my situation they can be responsive and promptly attendant to issues than if I were to move elsewhere, that is always part of my consideration for long term plans, but with a bit of planning and consideration, all can be properly conveyed to other hands with no loss of efficiency or expertise.
Living for a better life still
Then again, there are probably some places I should completely cross off my list for emigration and chief amongst those would be the United States of America, it is no place for the vulnerable in whatever way and no place to seek the humanity of consideration from policymakers. Under Donald Trump, those who voted for him in hope of a positive change in their lives predicated on a campaign of fear and loathing would soon realise they came to dinner with the devil without wielding a long spoon.
There are things to attend to, the joy of living, the pursuit of happiness, the search for fulfilment, the attainment of new goals, the exploration of new and interesting places, the meeting of exciting people and when that day comes, a smile of my face having lived a life like no other.
That is what keeps me going, I am grafter in ways I have not entirely agreed I am, but I love the things I do and long may the pleasure continue. By the way, the young couple that bought my apartment in 2012 sold it in late 2015 for a hefty 25% profit, the sheer luck, I still live for a better life.

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